Press Release: Green hydrogen for climate-friendlier aviation

Will hydrogen be the solution to climate neutrality in the aviation industry? As promising this may be, the challenges in implementing hydrogen-powered aviation are also great. Over the next three years, the joint project “HyNEAT – Hydrogen Supply Networks’ Evolution for Air Transport” will conduct research into supply networks for such aircraft. The focus is on green hydrogen and its cost-effective production and transport. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research with approximately three million Euros and it is a joint project by Leibniz Universität Hannover, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Clausthal University of Technology and the Hamburg University of Technology.

Propulsion systems based on green hydrogen for larger commercial aircraft are a promising alternative for more climate-friendly aviation – however, only if hydrogen is produced from renewable energies. In addition to the need of developing new propulsion systems and aircraft concepts, one of the greatest challenges is the deployment of a hydrogen supply infrastructure that enables competitive costs for operating the new types of aircraft. This is where the HyNEAT project is designed to contribute to research and development. In the project, it will be investigated whether and in which countries renewable energy will be sufficiently available in the future and where international supply relationships should be established. The aim is to identify global and local potential for the cost-effective production of green hydrogen for aviation. Furthermore, particular attention will be paid to ensuring that this also takes place in line with the overall energy transition and design of aviation networks.

The scientific consortium is accompanied by an industry advisory board. This includes Airbus, Deutsche Aircraft, MTU Aero Engines, Lufthansa Group, the German Aerospace Center, Flughafen Hamburg GmbH, Flughafen München GmbH, FMO Flughafen Münster/Osnabrück GmbH, Linde GmbH, Siemens Energy, EWE, the Africa Association of German Business and McKinsey & Company. Other interested organizations are welcomed and invited for discussions.

Due to the large potential for renewable energy supply and the therefore cost-effective production of green hydrogen, several countries, for example in North Africa or the Middle East, are predestined for hydrogen export for aviation. Thus, local renewable energy supply systems in exporting countries could also benefit from the development of hydrogen infrastructure. The HyNEAT project will intensively examine the role of selected regions, also outside Europe, for hydrogen supply to aviation.