Airbus Seeks To Turn Paris Into A Hydrogen Hub

Airbus is pressing forward with its ambition to be the first to develop hydrogen commercial aircraft. Today, it has issued a call for expressions of interest to turn Paris airports into a ‘hydrogen hub’.

Airbus is seeking partners to turn Paris airports into a ‘hydrogen hub’. Photo: Airbus

Expressions of interest

Today, Airbus has called for expressions of interest from every corner of the globe for partners to explore the opportunities generated by hydrogen propulsion. Specifically, the manufacturer wants to explore hydrogen in Paris airports, with an aim of decarbonizing air transport.

Working with Paris region, Groupe ADP and Air France-KLM, Airbus wants to turn Paris airports into ‘hydrogen hubs’, in a bid to provide a blueprint for the rest of the world to build on this revolutionary fuel. Its call for expressions of interest aims to attract all parties necessary to build a complete hydrogen ecosystem, from major corporations to SMEs and universities.

Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice President Engineering at Airbus, commented on the project,

“Airbus is determined to drive a bold vision for the future of sustainable aviation, and to lead the transition to zero-emission commercial flight. Hydrogen is the one of the most promising technologies that will help us meet that objective – but we won’t be able to do it alone. This revolution will also require our regulatory and infrastructure ecosystems to change worldwide.

“Airports have a key role to play in enabling that transition, starting today, and we hope that this open innovation initiative will foster the development of creative projects and solutions.”

The project would lay the groundwork for a future hydrogen-powered aircraft. Photo: Airbus

Also involved in the project is the Choose Paris Region agency, a company in charge of promoting the attractiveness of Paris and the surroundings. This agency is supporting the call for expressions of interest, and its president, Franck Margain, commented,

“Thanks to the collaboration of the public and private actors involved in this call for proposals, we wish to contribute very concretely to the implementation of new innovative and sustainable solutions that side with the energy transition commitments made by the Paris Region.”

Three key themes

In what Airbus calls an ‘unprecedented’ call for applicants, it aims to build a network of partners that can help= deliver its hydrogen dream. This includes identifying and qualifying research and technologies, and then to test out the solutions that could meet the hydrogen needs of the airport of the future.

Airbus Seeks To Turn Paris Into A Hydrogen Hub
Airbus previously revealed three concept hydrogen aircraft. Photo: Airbus

In the medium term, Airbus wants to lay the groundwork to address the challenges of using hydrogen at scale, with a view to operating a future hydrogen-powered aircraft. Specifically, the planemaker is calling for applications under three key themes:

  1. Storage, transportation and distribution: Solving problems around getting hydrogen to, storing and distributing from a busy airport.
  2. Diversification: Looking at how hydrogen can contribute to other airport operations, such as ground transportation, railway and energy supply for buildings.
  3. The circular economy of hydrogen: Investigating hydrogen recovery and by-products of the reaction to produce a decarbonized hydrogen for fuel.

The company is seeking applications from today until March 19th.

Airbus has made no secret of its desire to lead the charge on hydrogen in aviation. Last September, it unveiled three concept aircraft to be powered by hydrogen, in celebration of zero emissions day. While a flying hydrogen aircraft is still some way off, the Paris hydrogen hub could be a significant step on the road to realizing this ambition.