New fuels and technologies are set to revolutionize the aviation industry and play a crucial role in reducing carbon emissions by 2050.

A recent report, titled “Hydrogen in Aviation,” co-authored by global sustainable development consultancy Arup and Wales and West Utilities (WWU), delves into the potential demand for hydrogen across the aviation supply chain. Focusing on airports in South Wales and South West England, the report examines hydrogen’s use in future flights, airport operations, and its role in Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF).

As the world seeks alternatives to fossil fuels, hydrogen emerges as a promising candidate for decarbonizing aviation. The report assesses hydrogen’s potential to provide a greener fuel source and investigates its integration into various aviation processes. It explores hydrogen’s applications as a feedstock for SAF, its use in powering ground support equipment, and its role in fueling aircraft.

While hydrogen holds tremendous potential, several challenges must be addressed for successful implementation. The report identifies potential barriers such as transportation methods, policy considerations, and infrastructure requirements. By understanding and addressing these challenges, stakeholders can ensure a smooth transition towards hydrogen adoption in aviation.

Aligned with the UK government’s Jet Zero Strategy, the report highlights hydrogen’s significance in achieving key milestones. The aviation industry aims to deliver a 10% SAF mix by 2030 and achieve net-zero flights by 2050. Hydrogen-powered flight and its role in SAF will be instrumental in realizing these ambitious goals.

The “Hydrogen in Aviation” report serves as a valuable knowledge base for the South West and South Wales regions, driving the development of hydrogen ecosystems. Its insights and methodologies provide a blueprint for gas distribution networks (GDNs) to follow, ensuring smooth integration of hydrogen infrastructure. Collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and proactive planning will be crucial for GDNs to avoid becoming bottlenecks in the aviation industry’s transition to hydrogen.

The report uses the South Wales and South West England regions as a testbed for broader national progress. By navigating the requirements for integrating hydrogen across the aviation ecosystem, including infrastructure considerations, these regions can serve as models for sustainable aviation practices.

Addressing the climate crisis requires collaboration and coordination across industries, and aviation is no exception. The report underscores the importance of alignment, trust, and teamwork to drive the adoption of hydrogen in aviation. Arup’s recent membership in Hydrogen South West further signifies its commitment to accelerating the energy transition to hydrogen and facilitating a sustainable future.

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