Paris Airports, belonging to the French Groupe ADP, cook up new green recipe, by putting hydrogen high on the list of ingredients. According to plans, Charles de Gaulle, Orly et alia are eager to play a leading role in decarbonizing air transport as advocated by the EU Commission in its zero-emission air traffic concept for 2035, supported by major industrial players.
For this aim, Airbus, ADP, and Air France-KLM, in cooperation with the PR Agency ‘Choose Paris Region’ launched a global call for expressions of interest last week, addressing a multitude of industrial players, to consider jumping on the hydrogen bandwagon.
The project aims to build a unique airport ecosystem federated around hydrogen, major corporations, SMEs, start-ups, laboratories, and universities. It complies with the French government’s energy transition strategy and fits into the European Commission’s Green Plan, pushing ahead for a rapid shift away from high polluting industries towards environmentally friendlier technologies and practices. In their release, the Paris partners emphasize that their mutual goal is to “anticipate and support developments that should help transforming the ADP run Paris Airports into true hydrogen hubs.”
Airbus speaks of a ‘revolution’
The advantages of this resource over conventional energies are immensely. Hydrogen is a clean and therefore, attractive fuel not emitting greenhouse gases, which, when consumed in fuel cells, produces only water as remainder. It will revolutionize the way airport infrastructures are designed and operated, state Airbus and partners. With their joint initiative, they hope to make a breakthrough across the entire hydrogen value chain at the ADP orchestrated Paris Airports.
Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice President Engineering at Airbus, said that the European plane maker “is determined to drive a bold vision for the future of sustainable aviation, and to lead the transition to zero-emission commercial flight. Hydrogen is one of the most promising technologies that will help us meet that objective - but we won't be able to do it alone. This revolution will also require our regulatory and infrastructure ecosystems to change worldwide.” The manager added to this: “Airports have a key role to play in enabling that transition, starting today, and we hope that this open innovation initiative will foster the development of creative projects and solutions."
Zero emission aircraft to come
The common goal of the ”hydrogen” consortium, consisting of 5 partners, is to identify and qualify research advances followed by testing the economically viable solutions that will meet the needs of hydrogen at an airport, to prepare in the medium term the challenges of its supplies and uses in a larger scale, particularly with a view to operate a future hydrogen-powered aircraft. Shortly ago, three variants were presented by Airbus, all based on hydrogen combustion, hence producing zero emissions. But before airports become climate-friendly, much work still needs to be done and open question clarified. It must be tested, which solution is best suited to decarbonize the airport, to secure the constant supply of sufficient CO2.
Three key subjects
The partner’s call for expression of interest, launched now, focuses on three main topics: Firstly, the storage, transport, and distribution of hydrogen (gaseous and liquid) in an airport environment, including the fueling of aircraft.
Secondly, the diversification of hydrogen use cases in airports and in aeronautics, including ground handling vehicles and equipment, rail transport at airports, energy supply for buildings or aircraft during ground operations, etc.
And finally, the setting up of a circular economy based on hydrogen, i.e., the recovery of hydrogen possibly wasted during fueling processes, et alia.
In a statement, Edward Arkwright, Deputy CEO of Groupe ADP assured that his Group and its partners are ready to federate a unique ecosystem to make possible the progressive integration of hydrogen at Paris airports. “We must prepare today to welcome the hydrogen aircraft in 2035 by transforming our airports into real hydrogen hubs, in which we wish to develop various uses with our stakeholders, around airside and city-side ground mobility.” Alongside other solutions, such as sustainable alternative fuels, the deployment of eco-friendly hydrogen aims to accelerate the decarbonization of air transport, Mr Arkwright wrapped up the group’s hydrogen advance.
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