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Hydrogen South West to host UK’s airport hydrogen hub partnership

How Bristol Airport can become an Airport Hydrogen Hub will be determined by a new partnership of Airbus, easyJet, and EDF’s Hynamics. This UK project now joins a network of ‘ZEROe’ agreements that Airbus has reached with various airports in Europe and Asia Pacific to explore hydrogen technology.

The project brings together a network of hydrogen experts to assess the local and global hydrogen supply chains, forecast future hydrogen powered aircraft traffic, and explore how a hydrogen supply at Bristol Airport could also power other forms of transport, such as HGVs and other heavy vehicles.

By bringing together the Airport, the airline easyJet, manufacturer Airbus, and hydrogen generator Hynamics, the project creates a unique partnership to assess how hydrogen technology can be best used under ‘real world’ conditions. The project is one of several being taken forward as part of Hydrogen South West, a cross-sector consortium of companies that is working to develop a hydrogen economy in our region.

South West England is home to a significant aerospace and aviation cluster providing around 100,000 jobs. Bringing forward zero emission technology for flight would cut global emissions, secure the long-term future of the sector, and create thousands of new green jobs.

Airbus plan to produce the world’s first zero-emissions commercial aircraft by 2035. A modified Airbus A380 ZEROe demonstrator with a hydrogen-powered engine is expected to begin test flights in 2026. At Filton, Airbus is developing a Zero Emission Development Centre (ZEDC) for hydrogen technologies, including the development of a cost-competitive cryogenic fuel system.

Last month, easyJet announced an ambitious roadmap to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, with hydrogen playing a key role. With Rolls-Royce, the airline will shortly begin ground testing of hydrogen-powered engines.

Hynamics, a subsidiary of EDF, are specialists in low carbon hydrogen production by water electrolysis in France, Germany, and across the United Kingdom. Bristol Airport is making itself available as a testbed for new technology, as part of efforts to cut emissions from flights after its own operations become net zero by 2030.

Glenn Llewellyn, VP - Zero Emission Aircraft, Airbus, said: “Having a range of different airport projects like this is vital preparation for the arrival of our Zero Emission Aircraft from 2035. It's exciting for us to collaborate and learn with valued partners in this project as part of a dynamic UK hydrogen ecosystem.”

Jane Ashton, Sustainability Director, easyJet, said: “At easyJet, we are committed to working towards a future with zero carbon emission flying. We know that technology is a key driver to achieve our decarbonisation targets, with hydrogen propulsion expected to be critical for short-haul airlines like easyJet. This partnership will provide vital lessons on how the fuel can be used in the real world and builds on our strong relationship with Bristol Airport.”

Simon Earles, Director of Sustainability and Corporate Affairs, Bristol Airport, said: “Bristol Airport is delighted to be joining the ranks of prestigious airports around the world in working with Airbus to deliver zero emissions flight. We’re committed to leading on sustainability and opening ourselves up as a testbed for new technology.”

Christelle Rouillé, CEO of Hynamics, said: “We are dedicated to making low carbon and renewable hydrogen a decarbonisation driver of the entire economy, towards mobility and industrial players. We are looking forward to working with our Hydrogen South West Partners in delivering this project and ultimately, in supporting the region in leading the way on green technology over United-Kingdom.”