A consortium led by Glasgow Airport and net-zero consulting co-developer Ikigai, has successfully secured funding from the Scottish Government to test the feasibility of a hydrogen production, storage and distribution hub that would support zero-emission flight at the airport.
The funding was confirmed by the First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf and forms part of the Scottish Government’s £7 million Hydrogen Innovation Scheme which aims to support the development of renewable hydrogen technologies.
The Glasgow Airport Hydrogen Innovation Hub project will determine the most efficient, bankable, green hydrogen production, storage and refuelling solutions and assess the operational feasibility of a hydrogen hub at the airport.
The international consortium includes AI & solid-state storage technology company H2GO Power, developer of hydrogen-electric power-trains for ZeroAvia aircraft, global strategic environmental and engineering consulting Ricardo, system integrator Altrad Babcock, European green fuels retailer OG Clean Fuels, the University of Glasgow, Scottish Water Horizons and two airlines (easyJet and Loganair).
The project is expected to be completed by early 2024, with the long-term goal of applying this world-first concept to other regional airports, to create a UK network of hydrogen-ready airports, including Aberdeen and Southampton which together with Glasgow form AGS Airports.
Jon Matthews, Group Head of Capital Investment at AGS Airports, said: “Hydrogen-powered aircraft have the potential to completely revolutionise aviation, particularly on regional and short-haul routes. Airline manufacturers are making tangible progress on zero-emission flights and as an airport operator, it is important we start to plan for the delivery, storage and generation of hydrogen. This funding will allow us to bring together a diverse group of companies to address the unique challenges of storing hydrogen safely and at scale in an airport environment.”
Aviation accounts for approximately 2.5% of global CO2 emissions and is one of the hardest to abate sectors. The industry is exploring multiple sustainable fuel sources and technologies, with the aim that sustainable aviation fuel will mitigate the majority of aviation’s global emissions in 2050. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts that hydrogen aircraft will dominate commercial short-haul aviation by 2040, with 50-100 hydrogen aircraft for up to 90 min flights being in commercial operation as early as 2035.
“Hydrogen has a critical role to pay in the decarbonisation of, in particular, regional aviation. Glasgow’s ‘back to base’ island routes make it the ideal location for hydrogen aviation to take-off,” said Helena Anderson, co-founder of Ikigai. “This hub will ensure that Glasgow Airport has a safe, secure and cost-efficient green fuel supply, as the industry transitions to Net Zero. Glasgow is the first airport in, what we believe will be, a world-leading hydrogen aviation network attracting regional investment, jobs, skills and growth.”