Hydrogen in Aviation (HIA) consortium formed to advance zero carbon flight in the UK

Sept. 6, 2023
HIA aims to assist government and policymakers by mapping out infrastructure, regulatory and policy changes with the technological developments in carbon-free flying.

LONDON - A group of leading companies in the UK aviation and renewable energy sectors including easyJet, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Ørsted, GKN Aerospace and Bristol Airport have announced the establishment of the Hydrogen in Aviation (HIA) alliance, which aims to accelerate the delivery of zero carbon aviation.  While there are various options for decarbonizing the aviation sector, including sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), synthetic fuels or batteries, HIA believes that more attention should be paid to the potential of the direct use of hydrogen.

Hydrogen is a promising alternative-fuel option for short-haul aviation. Airbus in Toulouse, France, is developing new hydrogen powered aircraft with the aim of entering commercial service from 2035 and Rolls-Royce in London has shown that hydrogen could power a jet engine following successful ground tests in 2022. Other operators are making rapid progress on hydrogen-powered aircraft, notably ZeroAvia in Hollister, and Universal Hydrogen in Hawthorne - both in California  - who have already carried out flight tests.

The alliance will set out that government needs to be focused on three key areas which are; supporting the delivery of the infrastructure needed for the UK to be a global leader; ensuring the aviation regulatory regime is hydrogen ready; and transforming the funding for hydrogen aviation R&D support into a 10 year program, if the UK is to see the economic benefits and meet decarbonization targets.

Decarbonizing aviation is a significant challenge which will require the successful deployment and implementation of multiple technologies and approaches, including SAF, as well as hydrogen. However, the use of hydrogen (particularly green hydrogen) has potential as an aircraft fuel as it produces no carbon emissions, compared to other technologies.

"Collaboration is key when it comes to achieving our net zero ambitions as an industry, which is why we are proud to be part of the Hydrogen in Aviation Alliance," Grazia Vittadini, Chief Technology Officer at Rolls-Royce, said. "Our contribution to HIA is the capability and experience we have in pioneering new technologies and solutions - we have already tested a modern aero engine on green hydrogen and we strongly believe it is one of the solutions that will help decarbonize aviation in the mid to long-term."

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Military Aerospace, create an account today!