Green hydrogen could help decarbonize air travel


United States Plug Power has formed a strategic alliance with Airbus to investigate the potential of providing green hydrogen to future airplanes and airports around the world.

Airbus has identified green hydrogen as one of the most promising options to decarbonize air travel as part of its ambitious goal of bringing zero-emission aircraft to market by 2035, and will be working closely with Plug Power on a joint study and roadmap that could deliver green hydrogen to aircraft and the airport ecosystem in the coming years.

Plug Power will develop deployment scenarios for green hydrogen infrastructure at airports, while Airbus will contribute information on the features of hydrogen aircraft.

Today, the aviation industry accounts for about 2-3% of worldwide human-caused CO2 emissions. Airports are enormous cargo hubs that have traditionally relied on fossil fuels to operate a variety of ground transportation and equipment, as well as to heat buildings and terminals. Green hydrogen, which is produced by electrolyzing water with electricity generated from renewable energy sources, has been identified as a viable means of meeting decarbonization requirements by a number of businesses, including the aviation industry.

As part of the agreement, Plug Power and Airbus will select a US airport to serve as the first “Hydrogen Hub” pilot airport in North America, serving as a case study for the expansion of hydrogen infrastructure at other airports. In 2020, Airbus introduced the “Hydrogen Hub at Airports” concept to kickstart research on infrastructure requirements for future hydrogen aircraft as well as low-carbon airport operations across the whole value chain.

As part of this collaboration, Plug Power and Airbus will consider establishing a number of cooperative projects to further pioneer the deployment of green hydrogen infrastructure for aviation on a large scale.