Scandinavian operator SAS is to co-operate with Airbus and local partners to explore the feasibility of hydrogen infrastructure at Nordic airports.
The companies aim to gain improved understanding of hydrogen aircraft operations, supply and refuelling requirements to develop the hydrogen ecosystem in Sweden and Norway.
It will also look at selection procedures for determining which candidate airports could be chosen for initial hydrogen-aircraft operations. The study, in which Swedish and Norwegian airport operators Swedavia and Avinor will participate, will consider over 50 sites.
SAS is particularly focused on sustainability, and has already signed up as a future operator of Heart Aerospace’s proposed hybrid-electric ES-30 aircraft.
“By partnering with some of the strongest and most innovative players in the industry, we are assuming our responsibility to drive the transition towards achieving net-zero emissions,” says chief executive Anko van der Werff.
Airbus is developing its own future-propulsion concept models, under its ZEROe programme, which would use hydrogen as fuel.
“Norway and Sweden are among the most demanding regions for aviation and have great potential for hydrogen production from renewable energy sources,” says Airbus chief Guillaume Faury.
“[The study] fits perfectly with our strategy of deploying hydrogen aviation ecosystems in the most suitable parts of the world.”
Avinor chief Abraham Foss says Norway and Sweden are “well-positioned” to be “early mover” countries regarding introduction of hydrogen-powered aircxraft.
“Our dialogue with Airbus concerning the decarbonisation of aviation goes several years back,” he adds.
Airbus already has a research programme focused on hydrogen hubs at airports, to look into infrastructure requirements, which spans 10 countries – with Sweden and Norway among them.
“Hydrogen is expected to gradually become an increasing part of the aviation industry’s fuel mix in the future and will therefore have an increasing effect on the infrastructure and planning of our airports,” says Swedavia chief Jonas Abrahamsson.
Swedish sustainable-energy specialist Vattenfall is also a partner in the study. Chief executive Anna Borg says breaking away from fossil fuels is a “huge challenge” but states that the collaboration shows “willingness to bring about change”.