The Hydrogen South West consortium, hosted at Bristol Airport in the UK, has partnered with Airbus, easyJet and EDF’s Hynamics to explore hydrogen technology and how the airport can become a ‘Hydrogen Hub’.
This UK project has joined a network of ‘ZEROe’ agreements that Airbus has reached with various airports in Europe and Asia-Pacific that are looking to develop and investigate hydrogen technology and its potential role in the aviation sector.
The project is intended to assess how hydrogen technology can be best used under real-world conditions and will look to assess the local and global hydrogen supply chains, forecast future hydrogen-powered aircraft traffic, and explore how a hydrogen supply at Bristol Airport could also power other forms of transportation, such as heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and other heavy vehicles.
Bringing forward zero-emission technology in the aviation sector is projected to cut global emissions, secure the long-term future of the sector and create thousands of green jobs.
Airbus plans to produce its first zero-emissions commercial aircraft by 2035. A modified Airbus A380 ZEROe demonstrator with a hydrogen-powered engine is expected to begin test flights in 2026. At Filton, Airbus is developing a Zero Emission Development Centre (ZEDC) for hydrogen technologies, including the development of a cost-competitive cryogenic fuel system. Hynamics, a subsidiary of EDF, specializes in low-carbon hydrogen production by water electrolysis in France, Germany, and across the UK. Bristol Airport has made itself available as a testbed for new technology, as part of efforts to cut emissions from flights after its own operations become net zero by 2030.
Glenn Llewellyn, vice president of zero-emission aircraft at Airbus, said, “Having a range of different airport projects like this is vital preparation for the arrival of our Zero Emission Aircraft from 2035. It’s exciting for us to collaborate and learn with valued partners in this project as part of a dynamic UK hydrogen ecosystem.”
Jane Ashton, sustainability director of easyJet, commented, “At easyJet, we are committed to working toward a future with zero carbon emission flying. We know that technology is a key driver to achieve our decarbonization targets, with hydrogen propulsion expected to be critical for short-haul airlines like easyJet. This partnership will provide vital lessons on how the fuel can be used in the real world and builds on our strong relationship with Bristol Airport.”
Simon Earles, director of sustainability and corporate affairs at Bristol Airport, added, “Bristol Airport is delighted to be joining the ranks of prestigious airports around the world in working with Airbus to deliver zero emissions flight. We’re committed to leading on sustainability and opening ourselves up as a testbed for new technology.”
Christelle Rouillé, CEO of Hynamics, said, “We are dedicated to making low carbon and renewable hydrogen a decarbonization driver of the entire economy, towards mobility and industrial players. We are looking forward to working with our Hydrogen South West partners in delivering this project and ultimately, in supporting the region in leading the way on green technology over the UK.”