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Paving the way for hydrogen aviation in Sweden and Norway

Posted on 12 Feb 2024 and read 529 times
Paving the way for hydrogen aviation in Sweden and NorwayTurboprop concept of ZEROe hydrogen-powered aircraft at the airport. Photo: Airbus SAS 2023

Airbus, Avinor, SAS, Swedavia and Vattenfall have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to investigate the feasibility of a hydrogen infrastructure at airports in Sweden and Norway. This cooperation will provide better understanding of hydrogen aircraft concepts and operations, supply, infrastructures and refuelling needs at airports in order to help develop this hydrogen aviation ecosystem in both countries.

The work will also identify the pathways to select which airports will be transformed first to operate hydrogen-powered aircraft in both countries as well as the accompanying regulatory framework. This is the first time that a feasibility study of this kind covers two countries and more than 50 airports. It reflects the partners’ shared ambition to use their respective expertise to support the decarbonisation of the aviation industry and to achieve ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2050.

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said: “Hydrogen stands out as a key enabler as we pioneer a sustainable aviation future. Norway and Sweden are among the most demanding regions for aviation and have great potential for hydrogen production from renewable energy sources. I am very pleased to enter into this cooperation with partners fully engaged to take significant steps towards decarbonising aerospace. It fits perfectly with our strategy of deploying hydrogen aviation ecosystems in the most suitable parts of the world.”

Avinor CEO Abraham Foss said: “Hydrogen is emerging as a key energy carrier in future fossil-free aviation. As the owner and operator of 43 airports across Norway, Avinor has been working on sustainability for many years already, and has taken a position as a driving force and facilitator for the ‘green’ transition of Norwegian aviation. Our dialogue with Airbus concerning the decarbonisation of aviation goes several years back and we are very happy to be able to announce this collaboration together with our good neighbors in Sweden. Norway, as well as Sweden, is well positioned to be an early mover in the introduction of hydrogen-powered aircraft. We look forward to contributing with our expertise as well as infrastructure to bring this important work forward.”

Seamless global connectivity

SAS president and CEO Anko van der Werff said: “As the world takes positive steps towards a more sustainable future, our commitment is to ensure that also coming generations can enjoy the benefits of seamless global connectivity. By partnering with some of the strongest and most innovative players in the industry, we are assuming our responsibility to drive the transition towards achieving ‘net zero’ emissions. A journey that matters not just for SAS, but for the entire aviation industry.”

Jonas Abrahamsson, Swedavia’s president and CEO, added: “We are very excited to be part of a larger partnership on the role of hydrogen in aviation together with Airbus, Avinor, SAS and Vattenfall. Swedavia, Avinor and SAS already have established successful collaborations in fossil-free aviation, and it is therefore exciting that Airbus, with its extensive knowledge of hydrogen-powered aircraft through its ZEROe initiative, and Vattenfall, with its expertise in electricity and energy production, are joining us in a more in-depth collaboration.

”Hydrogen is expected to gradually become an increasing part of the aviation industry’s fuel mix in the future and will therefore have an increasing effect on the infrastructure and planning of our airports. This partnership is a major and important step towards fossil-free aviation in the Nordic region and will further strengthen Swedavia’s role as a front-runner in fossil-free aviation, while at the same time taking another important step in the transition within the aviation industry.”

Industry decarbonisation

Anna Borg, Vattenfall president and CEO, said: ”We want to enable industry decarbonisation. Aviation is a hard to abate industry where breaking away from fossil fuels is a huge challenge today. This cross border collaboration however demonstrates the willingness to bring about change. We look forward to contributing with expertise in electricity market development, electrical infrastructure, and hydrogen production in Sweden.”

The use of hydrogen to power future aircraft is not only expected to significantly reduce aircraft emissions in the air, but could also help decarbonise air transport activities on the ground. In 2020, Airbus unveiled the first ZEROe concept with the ambition to bring to market the world’s first hydrogen-powered commercial aircraft by 2035. The development of the corresponding technology bricks is now underway in a global research and technology network.

Airbus also launched the ‘Hydrogen Hub at Airports’ programme to jumpstart research into infrastructure requirements and low-carbon airport operations, across the entire value chain. To date agreements have been signed with partners and airports in 10 countries including France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

To find out more about hydrogen and decarbonisation, visit airbus.com.