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Calls for hydrogen inclusion to aid decarbonisation of European aviation sector
Calls for hydrogen inclusion to aid decarbonisation of European aviation sector

Calls for hydrogen inclusion to aid decarbonisation of European aviation sector

Hydrogen Europe, the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe, and Transport & Environment, have raised concerns over the exclusion of renewable hydrogen from the scope of the European Commission’s ReFuelEU Aviation proposal.

In an open letter to the Commission’s Minister of Transport of EU Member States, Amélie de Montchalin, the trio called for “the inclusion of renewable hydrogen among the list of fuels covered by the scope of ReFuelEu Aviation.”

The letter stresses the inclusion is necessary ‘today’, to keep up with market developments, to encourage early investments for research and development by proving legal certainty, and to be consistent with decarbonisation goals in the European Green deal.

In 2021, the European Green Deal set out the need to reduce transport emissions by 90% of 1990 levels, by 2050.

Additionally, the organisations write, “Hydrogen-powered aircraft might operate one third of all passenger aviation traffic; their carbon dioxide mitigation potential is maximised when fuelled by renewable hydrogen, whose costs are rapidly falling.

“However, leaving discussions on its inclusion to the review of the text will waste precious time and delay the necessary ramp up and R&I for this technology: manufacturers and innovators are already developing hydrogen propulsion technologies and aircraft concepts, with the earliest applications planned for 2024 and new aircraft entering service in the following decade.

“Foundations for necessary supply and infrastructure at airports need to be laid today due to the long development cycles.”

The letter also identified that multiple means should support the aviation decarbonisation transition, such as the use of synthetic fuels, however, says that financial support is the most important aspect.

It reads, “It should be ensured that a portion of the money generated within the industry (e.g., penalties “for non-compliance with ReFuelEU rules, revenues generated by the trading of allowances under the ETS Aviation scheme) is channelled back to the sector and used to finance the development of zero-emission aviation and, inter alia, the hydrogen industry chain, from the ramp up of necessary enabling technologies to the creation of hydrogen hubs at airports.”

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