Group Seeks Creation of Hydrogen ‘Ecosystem’ at Paris Airports

 - February 11, 2021, 8:42 AM
Airbus is working on a concept for hydrogen-powered airliners under a program called ZeroE, and now is backing plans to developing refueling infrastructure at airports in Paris. (Image: Airbus)

Airbus, Air France-KLM, Groupe ADP, and the Paris Region on Thursday called for expressions of interest to create so-called hydrogen hubs at Paris airports to fuel future hydrogen-powered aircraft. The international call—launched with the support of the Choose Paris Region agency—aims to build an airport ecosystem around hydrogen, major corporations, SMEs, start-ups, laboratories, and universities.

The partners see three main requirements for meeting a European Commission goal to set the conditions for the introduction of hydrogen-powered aircraft by 2035. They include the means to store, transport, and distribute gaseous and liquid hydrogen in an airport environment; the diversification of hydrogen use in airports and aeronautics (ground handling vehicles and equipment, rail transport at airports, energy supply for buildings or aircraft during ground operations, etc.); and a so-called circular economy allowing for the recovery of hydrogen gas dissipated during liquid hydrogen refueling and the recovery of the by-product from the production of decarbonated hydrogen. The partners began accepting applications on Thursday and have opened the bidding until March 19.

The effort coincides with Airbus’s own aim to introduce a hydrogen-powered narrowbody airliner by 2035. Last year the manufacturer unveiled three concepts in development under the project designated ZeroE.

“Airbus is determined to drive a bold vision for the future of sustainable aviation and to lead the transition to zero-emission commercial flight,” said Airbus vice president of engineering Jean-Brice Dumont. “Hydrogen is one of the most promising technologies that will help us meet that objective—but we won't be able to do it alone. This revolution will also require our regulatory and infrastructure ecosystems to change worldwide. Airports have a key role to play in enabling that transition, starting today, and we hope that this open innovation initiative will foster the development of creative projects and solutions.”