Dutch group targets hydrogen-fuelled commercial flight in 2028

(The Guardian, 13 Jun 2022) Consortium plans to adapt turboprop aircraft with 40-80 seats to run on environmentally friendly fuel.

The world’s first hydrogen-fuelled commercial flight of a passenger plane could take place between Rotterdam and London in six years’ time, under a plan to make short-haul air travel more environmentally friendly.

The 2028 target set by a Dutch consortium is ambitious. Airbus announced its intention 18 months ago to be the first to offer zero-emission commercial aircraft models running on hydrogen, by 2035.

The only emission produced by burning hydrogen as a fuel is water vapour, making it a clean fuel option for heavy vehicles such as planes, trains and trucks. However, the process of creating hydrogen is only clean if the energy used is renewable.

The Dutch technology will initially be built into an existing turboprop aircraft with 40-80 seats, and it could then be used in adapted larger aircraft.

Michel van Ierland, of the consortium set up by Unified International and the Dutch regional economic development agency InnovationQuarter, whose partners include the Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker and Delft University of Technology, said the scheme would open up a €16bn market for the Netherlands.

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The Guardian, 13 Jun 2022: Dutch group targets hydrogen-fuelled commercial flight in 2028