The soaring twenties: The decade hydrogen aviation will take-off

Excitement has been building for some time across industries, governments and media about the potential for hydrogen to decarbonise where other technologies cannot. Hard-to-abate sectors, like aviation, are seen as particular sweet spots. But the accepted wisdom seems to have set the middle of next decade as the target date. That’s a long wait.

This is particularly frustrating because we can’t afford to wait 12 or 13 years to start making meaningful in-roads into aviation’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, particularly given the industry’s demand growth. It’s also a drastic underestimation as to how soon hydrogen will become a significant fuel in use for moving passengers and cargo in the skies.

There are some clear reasons why people should reconsider their horizons on hydrogen aviation, particularly hydrogen-electric (which uses fuel cells to power electric motors, as opposed to traditional combustion). As someone in the field of aviation for many years and as a precursor to the H2 View features that you’re about to see over the coming pages of this Aviation & Aerospace Issue, I’d like to set the scene here with my own take on those clear reasons.

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