Airbus is to lead a new hydrogen handling and refuelling project to demonstrate ground-handling operations for the new fuel on a small scale at several European airports.

The EU-backed project also involves hydrogen specialists and academic partners from across Europe.

ZEROe hydrogen concept-c-Airbus

Source: Airbus

Airbus hopes to launch hydrogen-powered aircraft through ZEROe programme

In total, the GOLIAT initiative will receive €10.8 million ($11.7 million) from the EU and will run for four years, culminating in 2027 with a hydrogen aircraft demonstration at Vinci Airports-run Lyon-Saint Exupery.

The project’s goal is to demonstrate how high-flow liquid hydrogen (LH2) handling and refuelling technologies can be developed and used safely and reliably for airport operations.

Planned activities include developing and demonstrating hydrogen refuelling technologies scaled-up for future large commercial aircraft, and trialling small-scale LH2 aircraft ground operations at airports.

In addition, the project aims to develop regulatory framework for future hydrogen operations and assess the economics of hydrogen fuel for airports.

“We continue to believe that hydrogen will be an important fuel for the future of short-haul aviation,” says Karine Guenan, vice-president of ZEROe Ecosystem, Airbus.

“We welcome the opportunity to help build the operating case for the widespread daily use of liquid hydrogen at airports.”

Project partner H2FLY – which is developing a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain at a site in Stuttgart – has previously carried out refuelling trials using its HY4 demonstrator as part of another EU-backed effort.

Josef Kallo, co-founder and chief executive of Joby Aviation-owned H2FLY, adds: “Leveraging our experience in the HEAVEN project, where we completed the world’s first piloted flight of a liquid hydrogen-powered electric aircraft, we look forward to contributing our expertise in LH2 operations to GOLIAT.”

Other partners in the GOLIAT consortium include Chart Industries, TU Delft, Leibniz University Hannover, Royal Schiphol Group, and Budapest, Rotterdam The Hague, and Stuttgart airports.