Importance of the aeronautical sector

The aeronautical sector in Spain is of great strategic importance due to its impact on the economy (1.5% of GDP and 6.8% of industrial GDP), the high quality of the direct and indirect employment it generates, its export capacity (81% of its turnover), the intensity of R&D&I (to which it devotes 10%), its contribution to the state via taxes of 10% of its turnover, as well as its productivity, 3 times higher than the national average, and the use of its results by other industrial sectors.

In addition,
In addition, the activity of

air transport
is essential for the tourism industry in Spain, having represented in 2019, 12.4% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and to guarantee and improve national, regional and global multimodal connectivity, as an engine of socioeconomic development and social and territorial cohesion, being that 80% of foreign tourists arrive by plane to our country.


The energy transformation requires an immediate and ambitious a
immediate and ambitious action to support and incentivize the decarbonization of the aviation

decarbonization of the aviation sector
especially in the light of the Paris Agreement, the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the European Union’s climate commitments for the years 2030 and 2050, and the package of proposals “….Fit for 55″ and Law 7/2021, of May 20, on climate change and energy transition.

Green hydrogen has been identified pby the European Commission as a key instrument to meet decarbonization commitments and to boost economic recovery after the pandemic crisis, developing a European Hydrogen Strategy that addresses the main fields of action: investments, regulatory framework, market leadership, R&D, infrastructure network and cooperation with third countries.

The development of green hydrogen as an energy vector is very difficult and requires major technological, industrial and infrastructure developments in order to make the necessary quantities available to aircraft at an affordable price.

Aviation strategy to achieve net-zero emissions

The decarbonization of aviation is very difficult due to the difficulty of finding a fuel with a high specific energy (energy provided/mass). In today’s electric batteries this characteristic is 2 orders of magnitude lower than that of kerosene.

The solution will be achieved through improvements in all aspects of aviation: ground operations, flight operations, routing, engine efficiency improvements, lighter and more energy-efficient aircraft and the use of sustainable fuels (SAF).

Hydrogen has long been considered as a possible alternative fuel. Its specific energy is 3 times that of kerosene and it does not emit CO2. The possibility of achieving its production in a sustainable way (the so-called green hydrogen) would make its use as a fuel in aircraft the ideal solution to decarbonize the sector.

There are, however, major problems. Hydrogen has a lower energy density than kerosene (4 times less) so that aircraft using it will need to store it in liquid form and more storage space. This complicates the design of the tanks.

Another major problem for the use of green hydrogen is its availability for large aircraft: i.e., production capacity in the necessary quantities and its transport and distribution to airports.

A major effort is therefore required in terms of infrastructure, production plants and development of aircraft technologies.

The use of green hydrogen in aviation will enable net-zero aviation emissions but presents major challenges that only the entire aviation value chain can address together. This is why the Alliance for the Use of H2 in Aviation has been created.

The Alliance for the use of H2 in aviation

The Alliance is created with the objective of:

  • Work with the Administrations
  • Consolidate a schedule of needs, flow rates, production locations (e.g., in the following areas
    Align supply and demand
  • To exchange knowledge and promote the generation of projects that can meet the announced needs.
  • Encourage collaboration on projects
  • Identify specific projects and funding opportunities
  • Generate documents that help positioning
  • Dissemination of these activities

In order to manage these activities, a Steering Committee made up of entities from the aeronautical sector was created:

  • AENA
  • AESA,
  • Airline Association
  • INTA
  • Spanish Aerospace Technology Platform

and the hydrogen sector:

  • National Center for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Experimentation,
  • Gasnam-Neutral Transport,
  • Spanish Association of Petroleum Product Operators
  • Hydrogen Technology Platform

The 4 Work Groups shown below are created. In all of them, work will be carried out on regulatory aspects and standardization aspects where necessary.

These working groups may deal with specific solutions and may be joined by entities that are not members of the Steering Committee in order to contribute value to the problems raised.