Airbus has partnered with Fortescue
Future Industries (FFI), Air New Zealand, Hiringa Energy, Fabrum
and Christchurch Airport to launch the Hydrogen Consortium, which
will support New Zealand’s efforts to pioneer the commercial
deployment of green hydrogen-powered aircraft.
As part of this vision, a 400-hectare renewable energy
precinct called Kowhai Park is currently being developed at
“Major progress is being
made,” said Justin Watson, Christchurch Airport’s Chief Executive. “There have been successful test flights of
zero emission aircraft already. There are new sustainable aviation
fuels that can cut emissions by up to 80% and a huge amount of
research is going into how to commercialise these solutions. The Hydrogen Consortium will see some of the world’s best
experts collaborate on one of the most promising zero emission
fuels – green hydrogen.”
Airbus is working to develop and
put into service the world’s first hydrogen-powered commercial
passenger aircraft by 2035.
The Hydrogen Consortium will support New Zealand’s sustainable aviation goals
In close cooperation with its
partners, the company will factor in aviation’s requirement for
hydrogen in New Zealand. Using its hydrogen hubs at airports
concept, Airbus will engage with aviation and non-aviation players
to perform a complete assessment of energy supply needs to enable
the operation of hydrogen powered aircraft.
President of the ZEROe Ecosystem Karine Guenan says the journey to
sustainable aviation requires an entire ecosystem to be put into place – one that will involve key players from a variety of
“The consortium we are building brings together a
number of pioneering partners with a common interest: to make
hydrogen-powered aviation in New Zealand a reality,” Karine said.
Christchurch liquid hydrogen solutions company Fabrum recently
designed the hydrogen-powered technology for the Emirates Team New
Zealand chase boat (Chase Zero) and has developed lightweight
liquid hydrogen fuel tank technology for aviation use.
Co-founder Christopher Boyle is in no doubt the future of clean
aviation rests on the shoulders of green hydrogen.
consortium pulls together some of world’s best experts in green
hydrogen – having all of these organisations around the same table
will turbocharge what we all learn. Together we’ll make a big
difference in taking zero emission aviation forward which is good
news to anyone who wants to fly sustainably in the future,”
Hiringa Energy is a pioneering green
hydrogen developer, producer and supplier. It is
constructing key infrastructure to support New Zealand’s
transition to green hydrogen in multiple transport sectors
including aviation, marine and heavy road transport. Hiringa’s
first four production and high-capacity refuelling stations are
coming online in 2023, with nationwide expansion planned from
Andrew Clennett, Hiringa Energy’s Chief Executive,
hydrogen adoption is accelerating around the world and New
Zealand is well positioned to be a leader in this space.
“There are green hydrogen-fuelled buses, trucks, trains and boats
already in service – some of them we have been refuelling here in
New Zealand, including the Emirates Team New Zealand chase boat,”
“Aircraft are a key next step, and this consortium has formed to
ensure these planes have the infrastructure and hydrogen supply
they will need to take off here. Our team is very motivated to
leverage our hands-on experience bringing green hydrogen to market
to make this transition happen.”
Over the next
six months the partners will work together to design a hydrogen
ecosystem for aviation in New Zealand.
The first phase
will focus on research, which will be completed by the end of
The consortium will develop a vision for hydrogen
aviation in New Zealand, examine the hydrogen supply chain and its
challenges, assess the local aviation market’s projected hydrogen
needs to 2050, and develop a pathway of policies, regulations and
incentives to promote the development of hydrogen aviation.
The second phase will focus on whether hydrogen aircraft test
flights can be held in New Zealand.
Air New Zealand has
two ambitious goals – to fly its first commercial demonstrator
flight from 2026 and begin replacing its Q300 Turboprop fleet from 2030 with low emission aircraft.
Kiri Hannifin, the airline’s Chief
Sustainability Officer, said the consortium’s work
will be important to Air New Zealand achieving those ambitions.
“To fly hydrogen-powered aircraft in New Zealand we will
need an aviation ecosystem that can support it. The Hydrogen
Consortium brings together energy, aircraft, airline operator and
airport expertise with the aim of bringing this to life. We can’t
wait to see what we can achieve together,” Kiri said.
Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) CEO Mark
Hutchinson, said, “Fortescue Future Industries is a global
green energy and technology business that will bring to the
consortium its knowhow in mega-scale renewables and zero-emissions
green hydrogen production and delivery. We are on a mission
to eliminate fossil fuels, including from the aviation industry,
and green hydrogen is the key to achieving this. Green
hydrogen and green energy is the practical, implementable solution
we all need now and we must race to deliver it at scale. The
consortium members all have extraordinary expertise in and
commitment to the decarbonisation of air travel and together we
believe we can develop a pathway to New Zealand becoming a global
trailblazer in this pursuit.”
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