ICCT Study Confirms Viability of Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft for Short-Haul Aviation


By ADS Advance Magazine

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has published a new study which finds that hydrogen-powered aircraft could cap emissions from passenger aviation with policy support and ‘look surprisingly viable from a design perspective’.

According to the ICCT white paper – Performance analysis of evolutionary hydrogen-powered aircraft – liquid hydrogen combustion aircraft could provide carbon-free air travel on up to a third of global passenger demand starting in 2035. The study outlines that aircraft burning ‘green hydrogen’ produced from renewable energy could enable flights up to 3400 km at reduced fuel costs compared to sustainable aviation fuel.

EasyJet is advocating for the use of hydrogen in short-haul aviation to eliminate carbon emissions. In November, the airline joined Race to Zero, a global UN-backed campaign to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. In order to achieve this goal, technology for carbon-free flying, such as hydrogen, will play a key role.

The airline fully supports the ICCT’s conclusion that “significant government support will be needed to make hydrogen aircraft work” and that “they deserve a level playing field along with ‘drop-in’ sustainable aviation fuels, which remain scarce and expensive.”

EasyJet has been urging industry and government collaboration to develop policies to promote the development of hydrogen-powered aircraft as well as the required technology, infrastructure and green hydrogen production.

Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, said: “We welcome the findings of this important report by the ICCT, which shows that carbon-free flight is possible over shorter ranges, something we have long argued. Hydrogen is an opportunity for British and European aviation, so we continue to urge governments to quickly put incentives in place to support it, develop regional hydrogen infrastructure, and level the playing field with sustainable aviation fuels.”

Championing the development of a carbon-free aircraft to decarbonise aviation has long been a focus for easyJet and the airline is working with partners across the industry, including Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions and Wright Electric, to accelerate the development of zero carbon emission technologies and the required infrastructure. The airline is optimistic that it could begin flying customers on carbon-free planes from the mid-2030s.

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