Baltic Consortium Aims To Develop Green Hydrogen

Germany’s Hamburg Airport
Credit: Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images

Germany’s Hamburg Airport and partner organizations are seeking European Union funding to develop the airport as a “hydrogen hub” in the regional air transport sector. The airport hopes its move will also help drive hydrogen-based aircraft development. 

The airport has set up and is heading a consortium that includes several airports, smaller airfields, regional economic partners and other organizations around the Baltic Sea region as it applies for funds from the EU’s Interreg Europe program.  

The Baltic Sea Region Project (BSRP) aims to improve connections between rural Baltic regions to existing aviation hubs and to promote sustainable flying. The primary goal of the BSRP is to bring airports in the region up to standard for hydrogen-based aviation. 

The EU Interreg Baltic Sea Region Program has announced several areas of development. Hamburg Airport has applied for funding with the consortium in the field of “green mobility.”

This involves development of the supply chain for green hydrogen, from production to the fueling of aircraft and airport ground support equipment.   

Almost all major airport operators around the Baltic are part of the partnership, including Finland’s Finavia, Sweden’s Swedavia and Lithuanian Airports. One of the project’s aims is the revitalization of regional air traffic.  

If the EU agrees to provide funding, the project could start this fall. The transnational cooperation is planned to last for three years and is set to be an important step toward fossil-free flying in the Baltic Sea region. 

"H2 [hydrogen] offers great potential for climate-neutral flights on short-haul routes,” says Jan Eike Hardegen, Hamburg Airport’s head of environment.  

“From our partners' point of view, regional air transport with smaller, future hydrogen-powered aircraft is particularly suitable. Gaseous hydrogen is the propulsion of the future, especially for smaller regional air transport aircraft, such as turboprops with 20-30 seats."  

The project aims to clarify the prerequisites for airport infrastructure geared toward hydrogen-powered aircraft. By the end of the project, all the airports involved should be prepared to invest and implement infrastructure projects on their own. As a culmination of the project, a demonstration flight with a hydrogen-powered aircraft is planned from Hamburg Airport.  

Alan Dron

Based in London, Alan is Europe & Middle East correspondent at Air Transport World.