Hydrogen at airports

Hydrogen is an essential energy carrier for the medium- and long-term sustainability of the aerospace sector, and will mark a turning point in transportation and mobility: from automobiles to aircraft and rail transport, the means of transport of the future will be powered by clean hydrogen-based energies.

Hydrogen and electric aircraft engines will be a reality by 2035. It is essential to prepare airports for their arrival, and to be at the forefront of their research and adoption. The creation of hydrogen hubs around airports is already contemplated in the National Hydrogen Plan. This poses a technological and regulatory challenge for the entire value chain in the medium and long term.

Changes in aircraft propulsion must be preceded by the adaptation of ground support equipment, and the promotion of sustainable intermodality at airport access points, with hydrogen refueling infrastructures.

Preliminarily, the following tasks are contemplated:

  • Definition of operational and safety requirements
  • Currently there are no regulations governing the establishment of hydrogen infrastructure at airports, so it will be essential to develop it, especially focused on Spanish airports.
  • Hydrogen gas infrastructure and equipment
  • The first uses of hydrogen in the aviation sector will be in ground applications, both stationary (cogeneration) and mobile (aircraft ground support vehicles, logistics fleets). For its introduction, the necessary associated infrastructure must be defined, and its installation must be carried out.
  • Replacement of land fleets
  • Work should be done on the selection and transformation of land fleets that are favorable for conversion to hydrogen technologies.
  • Stationary applications
  • Hydrogen cogeneration can be an interesting way to decarbonize airport activity, as well as the generation of emergency electricity with hydrogen groups or batteries.
  • Liquid hydrogen infrastructure and equipment
  • Preparing airport infrastructures for hydrogen aviation, from proper logistics for liquid hydrogen to new refueling or different envelope requirements for new hydrogen aircraft.