Aerospace & Defence

Paving the way for hydrogen aviation in Sweden and Norway

4th February 2024
Paige West

Airbus, together with Avinor, SAS, Swedavia, and Vattenfall, have formalised a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore the potential for a hydrogen fuel infrastructure at airports across Sweden and Norway.

This collaborative effort aims to enhance the understanding of hydrogen-powered aircraft operations, including supply, infrastructure, and refuelling needs at airports, to further the development of a hydrogen aviation ecosystem in both nations. Additionally, it will determine the selection process for the airports that will first transition to hydrogen-powered aircraft operations and outline the necessary regulatory framework.

Marking the first initiative of its kind to span two countries and encompass over 50 airports, this study embodies the collective ambition of the partners to leverage their expertise towards the aviation industry's decarbonisation and to meet the 2050 net-zero carbon emissions target.

“Hydrogen stands out as a key enabler as we pioneer a sustainable aviation future,” said Guillaume Faury, CEO, Airbus “Norway and Sweden are among the most demanding regions for aviation and have great potential for hydrogen production from renewable energy sources. I am very pleased to enter into this cooperation with partners fully engaged to take significant steps towards decarbonising aerospace. It fits perfectly with our strategy of deploying hydrogen aviation ecosystems in the most suitable parts of the world.”

Abraham Foss, CEO, Avinor: “Hydrogen is emerging as a key energy carrier in future fossil free aviation. As the owner and operator of 43 airports across Norway, Avinor has been working on sustainability for many years already and has taken a position as a driving force and facilitator for the green transition of Norwegian aviation. Our dialogue with Airbus concerning the decarbonisation of aviation goes several years back and we are very happy to be able to announce this collaboration together with our good neighbours in Sweden. Norway, as well as Sweden, is well positioned to be an early mover in the introduction of hydrogen-powered aircraft. We look forward to contributing with our expertise as well as infrastructure to bring this important work forward.

“As the world takes positive steps towards a more sustainable future, SAS’ commitment is to ensure that also coming generations can enjoy the benefits of seamless global connectivity.”

“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. A journey that matters not just for SAS, but for the entire aviation industry,” says SAS’ President & CEO Anko van der Werff.

“We are very excited to be part of a larger partnership on the role of hydrogen in aviation together with Airbus, Avinor, SAS and Vattenfall. Swedavia, Avinor and SAS already have established successful collaborations in fossil-free aviation, and it is therefore exciting that Airbus, with its extensive knowledge of hydrogen-powered aircraft through its ZEROe initiative, and Vattenfall, with its expertise in electricity and energy production, are joining us in a more in-depth collaboration. 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. This partnership is a major and important step towards fossil-free aviation in the Nordic region and will further strengthen Swedavia's role as a front-runner in fossil-free aviation, while at the same time taking another important step in the transition within the aviation industry," says Jonas Abrahamsson, Swedavia's President, and CEO.

”We want to enable industry decarbonization. Aviation is a hard to abate industry where breaking away from fossil fuels is a huge challenge today. This cross border collaboration however demonstrates the willingness to bring about change. We look forward to contributing with expertise in electricity market development, electrical infrastructure, and hydrogen production in Sweden,” said Anna Borg, President, and CEO, Vattenfall.

Hydrogen's role in powering future aircraft is anticipated to not only lower emissions during flight but also aid in the decarbonisation of ground air transport activities. In 2020, Airbus revealed its first ZEROe concept, aiming to introduce the world's inaugural hydrogen-powered commercial aircraft by 2035, with the development of the necessary technology currently in progress within a global Research & Technology network.

Furthermore, Airbus has initiated the ‘Hydrogen Hub at Airports’ programme to catalyse research into the infrastructural needs and the operation of low-carbon airports, covering the entire value chain. Agreements have already been signed with partners and airports in ten countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

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