A project by Boeing and the CSIRO has found hydrogen can significantly reduce aviation emissions.

Their expert analysis has found that growing hydrogen industry momentum could provide an opportunity to introduce hydrogen for niche airport applications (such as ground support equipment) as early as 2025.

By 2035, hydrogen could provide much deeper decarbonisation when used in conjunction with existing airport and aircraft infrastructure, and could then support a complete transition from conventional jet fuel around 2050.

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall says the disruption to air travel caused by COVID-19 has caused the industry to rethink their paradigm and recover to a different “normal”.

“As we see travel resume, hydrogen presents a key solution to enable a sustainable recovery for the industry using liquid renewable fuel, and to grow future resilience from threats like oil shocks,” Dr Marshall says.

“CSIRO’s 2018 breakthrough in fuelling hydrogen-powered cars with liquid renewable fuel has created opportunities for industries to supercharge their decarbonisation by investing in hydrogen.

“Science becomes real in the hands of visionary partners like Boeing who are willing to embrace science to support the development of a whole new sustainable and resilient industry that supports a green recovery.”

A range of sustainable fuels could assist in reducing emissions, and hydrogen-based fuels represent a key path to sustainable transport.

“In addition to more efficient aircraft, sustainable aviation fuels like hydrogen are a necessary contributor to the decarbonisation of aviation, and we are committed to furthering their development,” says Boeing’s General Manager of Research & Technology – Australia, Michael Edwards.

CSIRO’s 2018 ‘National Hydrogen Roadmap’ says Australia’s hydrogen industry is set for rapid scale-up, with cost competitiveness within reach.

The joint report is accessible in PDF form, here.