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Paris Region, Choose Paris Region, Groupe ADP, Air France-KLM and Airbus Reveal the Winners of the Worldwide Call for Expressions of Interest Regarding the Setup of a Hydrogen Branch in Airports

Paris Region, Choose Paris Region, Groupe ADP, Air France-KLM and Airbus  reveal the winners of the worldwide call for expressions of interest  regarding the setup of a Hydrogen branch in airports

Groupe ADP, Airbus, Air France-KLM and the Île-de-France Region, with the support of Choose Paris Region, have launched, last February 11th, a call for expressions of interest named "H2 HUB AIRPORT", to explore the opportunities offered by hydrogen and to boost air transport decarbonization.         
This initiative, with an international dimension and unprecedented in the air transport industry, was a big success with 124 applications received. 11 winners have been selected to contribute to the surge of  the hydrogen airport ecosystem of tomorrow.

The energy transition in Air transport is underway and the hydrogen airport ecosystem is one of the essential operational building blocks to shape the arrival of the Airbus hydrogen aircraft planned for 2035, while promoting the short-term development of hydrogen uses on the ground.

That is the purpose of this call for expressions of interest, structured around three fields:

  • Upstream of the value chain: production, storage, transport and distribution of hydrogen (gaseous and liquid) in the airport environment (storage systems, micro-liquefaction, aircraft fueling, etc.);
  • Downstream of the value chain: diversification of hydrogen uses and services in airport and aeronautical (ground handling vehicles and equipment, rail transport at airports, energy supply for buildings or aircraft during ground handling operations, etc.);
  • Circular economy around hydrogen:(recovery of hydrogen dissipated during liquid hydrogen fueling, recovery of a by-product from a reaction to produce decarbonized hydrogen, etc.).

"H2 HUB AIRPORT" call for expressions of interest allowed for the auditioning of major industrial players, SMEs, startups and entities from the academic and research world, sometimes gathered in consortium. To select the winners, the jury relied on the expertise of Philippe Boucly, Chairman of France Hydrogène,   and Emmanuel Julien, Senior Advisor at Enea Consulting, a firm specialising in energy transition.  

The 11 winning projects are key building blocks for the building and the expansion of the hydrogen value chain in an airport environment and, through their complementarity, cover all the specific issues for an airport ecosystem, with different timeframes: some projects are in the R&D phase, while others, more advanced, could be subject of displays or commissioning in the medium term.

Over the next few weeks, working meetings between partners and winners will be held to discuss the issues at stake, to share roadmaps of the various projects. The purpose is to contribute to surging long-term solutions that are economically feasible, and to be able to carry out the first on-site experiments from 2023.

On this occasion, Augustin de Romanet, Charmain and of Aéroports de Paris SA - Groupe ADP, stated: "The success of this call for expressions of interest is proof of the growing interest for hydrogen technologies. With all our partners, we are today laying the foundations of an ecosystem that will enable the progressive integration of this clean and sustainable energy carrier at Paris airports, transforming them into true hydrogen hubs. Our ambition is also to develop new uses around ground mobility, both airside and landside."

Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice President Engineering at Airbus, said: "I see a real interest  in decarbonising our industry as a whole, and the quality of the projects received and selected demonstrates this. Hydrogen is a major lever for aviation to reach its emission reduction targets. Our ambition is to play a pioneering role in this field and to support all the initiatives and skills that will enable us to collectively meet this challenge."

Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM, stated: "The Air France-KLM Group is convinced that the use of new energies such as hydrogen is an essential component of the energy transition. By writing the history of sustainable travel together, we are enabling future generations to travel freely and responsibly. The winners selected today are pioneers who will contribute within our ecosystem to the transformation of our sector. I would like to honour their commitment, innovative spirit and enthusiasm."

For Valérie Pécresse, Chairwoman of Paris Île-de-France Region: "We are pleased by the success of this call for expressions of interest, which will contribute in making Paris Region a territory for the deployment of hydrogen. These projects will contribute to create a robust sector, serving the different uses of this energy of the future that enables us to meet the challenge of decarbonization of transportation."

And Franck Margain, President of Choose Paris Region, to conclude: "This call for expressions of interest has been a great international success. 50% of the applications received came from abroad. Thanks to the efficiency of the collaboration between public and private players, we are contributing to the implementation of new solutions that will very quickly meet the energy transition objectives of the Paris Region and its international attractiveness."

The 11 winners of the "H2 HUB AIRPORT" call for expressions of interest are:

For production, storage, transportation and delivery of hydrogen:  

  • Air Liquide Advanced Technologies (France): this Air Liquide's subsidiary has developed a refueling truck with a large liquid hydrogen capacity;
  • Ecodrome (France): this consortium, formed by 3 partners, proposes to set up a multi-service supply station (hydrogen and electricity) on general aviation airfields that can be used, for example, by electric passenger aircraft and hybrid land vehicles;
  • Geostock (France): this engineering group specialising in underground energy storage works on a  very large hydrogen storage solutions in lined mined cavities;
  • Hylandair (France): this consortium of 4 industrialists has developed a gaseous hydrogen ecosystem for use as well on land side (trucks, buses, tippers, energy supply for buildings) and air side (passenger shuttle buses, ground support equipment, etc.);
  • Sakowin (France): this company is developing compact reactors producing hydrogen in a decarbonized manner, based on an innovative technology using methane;
  • Universal Hydrogen (United States): this Californian start-up aims to convert regional aircraft to hydrogen using modular liquid hydrogen capsules on board the aircraft.

For diversification of use cases in airports and in aeronautics:

  • Hydrogen for Airport Handling (France, Germany): this consortium of 6 operating in the field of ground handling is designing hydrogen-powered ramp vehicles (aircraft tractor, loader, baggage tractor);  
  • Use-In H2 (France): this consortium, bringing together 3 public partners including the DGAC, supports hydrogen deployment projects by proposing a risk analysis and recommendations on safety and security. It also assesses the sustainability of the solutions implemented;
  • Plug Power (United States): this company develops and markets ground support vehicles powered by fuel cells.

For circular economy around hydrogen:

  • Absolut System (France): this specialist in cryogenics applied to space and aeronautics  has developed solutions to optimize the quantity of hydrogen produced and stored via, in particular, systems for recovering dissipated hydrogen and mobile refrigeration;
  • Ways2H (United States): this startup offers a patented solution for the local production of hydrogen from the reprocessing of waste, including organic and plastic waste, which is then gasified.