Airbus looking at India, Aus, Latin America for green hydrogen supplies

Business World

European aerospace major Airbus is looking to source green hydrogen from markets like India, Australia and Latin America as part of its decarbonization efforts, a senior company official said. 

Airbus is currently developing a hydrogen-powered fuel cell engine for its ambitious zero-emission aircraft that will enter service by 2035. It has also signed a partnership agreement with HyPort to set up a low-carbon hydrogen production and distribution station at the Toulouse-Blagnac airport in France. 

The cost of renewable energy production in India and Latin America, among others, make them attractive as potential supply hubs, Glenn Llewellyn, VP Zero-Emission Aircraft at Airbus, said. 

“One of the key activities that are underway at Airbus is to make sure that when we have a hydrogen aircraft available, we also have green hydrogen at airports. So, we are doing a lot of work with different airports and energy providers all across the world to make sure that green hydrogen is available at the right price when we need it,” Llewellyn told PTI on the sidelines of the Airbus Summit 2022. 

The hydrogen station at the Toulouse-Blagnac airport is slated to enter into service in early 2023. It will have the capacity to produce around 400 kilograms of hydrogen per day — enough to power some 50 ground transportation vehicles. 

“There are no hydrogen-powered aircraft flying today but we can use hydrogen to decarbonize airport activities… this allows us to scale up hydrogen availability and prepare for the time when we need it for aircraft,” he noted. 

Replying to a question on the company’s energy procurement strategy, Llewellyn said, “We are looking at… how we can get hydrogen from places like India, Australia and Latin America, where we think the cost of hydrogen production is really interesting, and what the value chain will be to get that hydrogen to other regions of the world where maybe it’s more costly to produce locally.”
India is also a key market for Airbus. 

‘Green hydrogen’ refers to hydrogen generated by renewable energy or from low-carbon power. It has significantly lower carbon emissions than ‘grey hydrogen’ which is derived from fossil fuels like natural gas. Grey hydrogen currently makes up the bulk of the hydrogen market. 

With a view to making the country a major player in the segment, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the National Hydrogen Mission on 15th August 2021. Under this initiative, the country targets to produce 5 MT of green hydrogen by 2030. 

India has already announced its goal of increasing renewables capacity to 500 GW by 2030 and meeting 50 percent of energy requirements from renewable sources. 

“India is an amazing location with huge potential for the production of (green) hydrogen at a very exciting cost,” Llewellyn said. 

“I would hope that one day we can have zero emission aircraft operating out of airports like Delhi and others at attractive price points based on homegrown renewable energy ecosystem,” he added.