A new collaboration has been established by six international companies to develop zero-emission aircraft in New Zealand.
The goal of the Hydrogen Consortium is to assist the nation in becoming a leader in the commercial use of environmentally friendly hydrogen-powered aircraft.
International leader in the aircraft industry Airbus, leading airline Air New Zealand, leading provider of green energy Hiringa Energy, inventors of liquid hydrogen solutions Fabrum, and Christchurch Airport in New Zealand are the partners.
At Christchurch Airport, which is creating Kowhai Park, a 400-hectare renewable energy district, the Hydrogen Consortium was introduced.
By 2035, Airbus hopes to have the first commercial passenger airplane powered by hydrogen in operation.
Airbus will consider New Zealand’s need for hydrogen in aviation in close collaboration with its partners. Airbus will work with aviation and non-aviation entities to do a thorough assessment of energy supply needs to support the operation of hydrogen powered aircraft using its hydrogen hubs at airports concept.
A Christchurch-based business called Fabrum has created lightweight liquid hydrogen fuel tank technology for use in aviation as well as hydrogen-powered technology for the Emirates Team New Zealand pursuit boat (Chase Zero).
An innovative green hydrogen developer, producer, and supplier is Hiringa Energy. In order to enable New Zealand’s transition to green hydrogen in a number of transportation sectors, including aviation, maritime, and heavy road transport, it is building crucial infrastructure. The first four production and high-capacity refueling stations for Hiringa will open in 2023, and the company plans to expand nationally starting in 2024.
The partners will collaborate to build a hydrogen ecosystem for aviation in New Zealand over the following six months. Research will be the primary focus of the first phase, which will be finished by the end of 2023.
The consortium will create a roadmap of policies, rules, and incentives to encourage the growth of hydrogen aviation in New Zealand. It will also examine the hydrogen supply chain and its difficulties, estimate the local aviation market’s projected hydrogen needs through 2050, and develop a vision for hydrogen aviation in New Zealand.
The second phase will examine if test flights for hydrogen aircraft can be conducted in New Zealand.
Air New Zealand plans to replace its entire fleet of Q300 Turboprops with low emission aircraft starting in 2030 and to conduct its first commercial demonstrator flight in 2026.