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Air New Zealand and Airbus to look into potential for hydrogen-powered aircraft in shorter domestic flights

Air New Zealand and Airbus have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate on a joint research project to better understand the opportunities and challenges of flying zero-emission hydrogen aircraft in New Zealand.

Under the MoU, Air New Zealand will analyze the impact hydrogen aircraft may have on its network, operations and infrastructure, while Airbus will provide hydrogen aircraft performance requirements and ground operations characteristics to support Air New Zealand to develop its decarbonization roadmap.

At this stage, both hydrogen and battery electric aircraft are still on the table as potential options for our shorter domestic flights, along with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for long haul operations. This research will help to inform future decision making as we work to decarbonize the airline.

—Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran

Air New Zealand Chief Operational Integrity and Safety Officer Captain David Morgan says the MoU is an opportunity for the airline to be part of the design and definition of how a hydrogen-powered aircraft might fit into its own operations.

We’ll be working closely with Airbus to understand opportunities and challenges, including achievable flying range and what ground infrastructure or logistics changes may be required to implement this technology in New Zealand.

—Captain Morgan

Airbus is currently looking at three concepts for hydrogen-powered aircraft, including a turboprop, turbofan and blended-wing option. (Earlier post.)



Does New Zealand have enough spare electricity to make hydrogen?
Or is this just Greenwashing?


H2 makes sense for long distance flight; but, as you infer only if it's made the clean way and not from fossil fuels.


Hydrogen makes sense for flights long and short.


NZ has huge amounts of renewables, and this is practical, not greenwashing.
They are doing the same with their trucking, where Hyzon and Hiringa are to build stations and send hydrogen trucks to cover 80% of their through routes in the next few years - by 2025-6 from memory.


I dug out my link:

' The network will commence refueling operations in 2021, expanding to eight stations across the North and South Islands by 2022 as part of a Phase 1 network infrastructure plan, servicing 100% of the North Island and 82% of the South Island heavy freight routes.

The Phase 2 expansion will increase the network to at least 24 stations by 2025, providing coverage for 95% of all heavy vehicle routes throughout New Zealand. '


Can't wait to see if Hyzon make their timetable - 8 stations BY 2022!

Interestingly the range shows that at this stage they are going for 700bar compressed hydrogen:

' The trucks will be built in a 6x4 configuration, will include a sleeper cab option and will have a Gross Combination Mass (GCM) of 58 metric tonnes (64 US tons) and range of 680 km (423 mi). '

For markets like the US they are going for liquid hydrogen, but for NZ perhaps the range for compressed hydrogen will always be sufficient, or at least for a long time, and they don't need the 1,000 mile range of liquid hydrogen.

Australia is a different matter.


Combusting hydrogen produces lots of NOx


The NOx emissions from hydrogen combustion depend on how it is done and can be much mitigated.


' Hydrogen is much less fussy than petrol or diesel, mixing and burning fully and efficiently in a much wider range of air-to-fuel ratios. As a result, a hydrogen engine can be run very lean (more air, less fuel) and still produce much lower ‘engine-out’ levels of NOx than petrols or diesels. Tailpipe emissions can be reduced to minute levels using existing exhaust emissions tech.'


We are talking about jet turbines there's no EGR

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