Hydrogen as commercial aviation’s clean fuel of the future has gained altitude and higher credibility, following a big investment decision from European planemaker Airbus.
Toulouse’s giant rival to Boeing has committed to join Hy24, self-proclaimed as the world’s largest investment fund for hydrogen infrastructure.
Hy24 exists to provide financial capital fostering credible, large-scale green hydrogen infrastructure projects world-wide.
Launched in October, Hy24 is a joint venture of FiveTHydrogen, an investment manager specialising in clean hydrogen investments and French-based private investment house Ardian.
Airbus’ lending of its name assures the planemakers’ commitment to the scaling up of a global hydrogen economy. It sees such pledges as a prerequisite for the successful entry-into-service of its zero-emission commercial aircraft by 2035.
“Since 2020, Airbus has partnered with numerous airlines, airports, energy providers and industry partners to develop a stepped approach to global hydrogen availability,” according to Karine Guenan, Airbus’s vice-president for ZEROe Ecosystems.
“Joining a fund of this magnitude demonstrates Airbus’ continuously active role in infrastructure investments for the production, storage and distribution of clean hydrogen worldwide,” she said.
Hy24’s CEO Pierre-Etienne Franc declared his “..delight that Airbus has joined the fund along with other key industrial and financial investors.”
“Hy24 is well-positioned to identify and accelerate the development of clean-hydrogen infrastructure companies to meet today’s needs and ensure tomorrow’s transportation and logistics,” Franc added.
As the aviation industry transitions to meet its net-zero carbon emissions goal by 2050, experts believe a significant number of requirements need to be met. Investing in such funds offers complimentary access to direct partnerships capable of shaping new ecosystems in aviation’s energy systems.
Though contributing a supposedly low share – around 2% – of world carbon emissions, the aviation industry does so at altitudes which ensure the gas lingers longer and more damagingly in the atmosphere than surface emissions. Worse, as flights increase, its contribution is predicted to double as early as 2030.
Last week’s Farnborough International Airshow featured significant espousals of low carbon commercial flight, including green hydrogen and H2-driven electric propulsion.
A minnow as yet to Airbus’ whale, Cotswold-based plane builders ZeroAvia, steered by Russian ex-pat Val Miftakhov announced that BA’s owner IAG is among major backers including Barclays who are pumping a further $30 million into its hydrogen-and-electricity commercial airliners. Deployment of pumps, tanks and green electrolysers at airports worldwide are the goal of ZeroAvia’s latest funding round. Edmonton in Canada recently saw an installation.
Besides IAG’s stable of airlines such as BA, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, the Cotswolds-based start-up claims Alaska Airlines and US giant United among airline partners.
ZeroAvia intends its H2-electric hybrid engines reaching 5MW will power its 80 seater passenger carriers. ZeroAvia’s first planes – pictured – are planned to be flying in 2026.