Manchester Airport has unveiled plans to become the first UK airport with a direct supply of low carbon hydrogen fuel.
The plans are a result of a new partnership with HyNet, a Government-backed industrial decarbonisation project.
The airport has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the two founding partners of HyNet – Progressive Energy, which develops projects to decarbonise the energy sector, and Cadent, which will build and operate HyNet’s hydrogen pipeline network.
Through the MoU, the partners are aiming to deliver hydrogen to the aviation sector at the earliest opportunity, including through the connection of Manchester Airport to a pipeline being developed by HyNet.
“This announcement demonstrates the meaningful action we are taking to ensure we can deliver a carbon-free future for the aviation industry,” said Chris Woodroofe, Managing Director, Manchester Airport.
“The partnership between Manchester Airport and HyNet is a significant step forward for the future use of hydrogen across the North West, building a more sustainable future for the region. By securing a direct supply of hydrogen for our airport, our 60 airlines will be able to make use of this exciting and ground-breaking technology as soon as possible.
“The use of hydrogen will make a significant contribution to the UK aviation sector’s decarbonisation efforts and supports industry partners in reaching net zero.”
The announcement has been backed by Aviation Minister Baroness Vere and Energy and Climate Change Minister Graham Stuart, as well as the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and North West Hydrogen Alliance.
Climate Change Minister Graham Stuart said: “Set to be the new superfuel of the future, hydrogen will be essential in powering UK industries, including the aviation sector, as we move toward ending our dependency on fossil fuels.
“This new partnership is an exciting step that will help put the North West at the heart of efforts to make the UK a world-leading hydrogen economy.”
Hydrogen technology is slated to play a key role in decarbonising the aviation sector, with hydrogen-powered aircraft expected to come into operation from the mid-2030s for short-haul journeys.
A research project conducted by FlyZero involving Manchester Airports Group (MAG) estimated that the demand for liquid hydrogen at an airport the size of Manchester could be 6.5 million litres a day by 2050.
The announcement on hydrogen technology comes a year after MAG announced its partnership with Fulcrum BioEnergy UK, which aims to make Manchester Airport the first in the UK to have a direct supply of SAF from the mid-2020s.