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HIA Alliance Formed to Propel UK Hydrogen Aviation Industry Forward

16 Sept 2023

A consortium of leading companies in the UK aviation sector has established the Hydrogen in Aviation (HIA) alliance with the goal of accelerating the adoption of zero-carbon aviation. Members of the alliance include Rolls-Royce, easyJet, Airbus, Ørsted, GKN Aerospace, and Bristol Airport.

Working Together for Hydrogen-Powered Aviation

The HIA alliance aims to leverage the collective expertise of its members to propose a clear and achievable pathway for the adoption of hydrogen-powered aviation in the UK. The group will collaborate with government bodies, local authorities, the hydrogen sector, and aviation stakeholders to outline a plan for scaling up infrastructure and developing the necessary policy, regulatory, and safety frameworks.

Public Support for Hydrogen Aviation

Recent research conducted in August 2023 by 3gem on approximately 2,000 households has shown that 81% of the British public believe hydrogen aviation is the best option. Moreover, 91% expressed support for the UK government's aspirations to invest in hydrogen production and the aviation sector.

Economic Benefits of Hydrogen Aviation

Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet and the inaugural Chair of HIA, highlighted the economic potential of hydrogen aviation, stating that it could contribute £34 billion ($42 billion) annually to the UK's economy by 2050. However, he emphasized the need for swift action to seize this opportunity.

Airbus' Commitment to Hydrogen

Sabine Klauke, Chief Technology Officer at Airbus, emphasized the importance of a united industry approach to secure a renewable hydrogen ecosystem. Airbus, which is working on hydrogen-powered flight technologies, launched its UK Zero Emission Development Centre (ZEDC) in Bristol last year. The ZEDC focuses on developing cost-competitive cryogenic fuel systems for ZEROe passenger aircraft.

The UK's Hydrogen Aviation Potential

According to the UK Department for Transport's Jet Zero Strategy, significant investment in hydrogen aviation could lead to the creation of 60,000 new jobs and could provide hydrogen to meet 50% of the country's energy demand.

Ørsted's Perspective

Olivia Breese, Senior Vice President and Head of Power-to-X for Ørsted, emphasized the importance of alliances like HIA in bringing together various stakeholders across the value chain to accelerate hydrogen's role in the UK.

The formation of the HIA alliance signals the aviation industry's commitment to advancing hydrogen-powered flight and aligns with the UK's ambitions for a greener aviation sector.

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