Hamburg Airport launches hydrogen transport hub

Hamburg Airport has launched its Baltic Sea Region Project, aimed at better connecting rural Baltic Sea regions to existing aviation hubs with hydrogen-powered aircraft.

Dubbed the BSR Hydrogen Air Transport – Preparation of Baltic Sea Region Airports for Green Hydrogen project, the initiative will see participation of 16 project partners and 24 other associated organisations.

Funded by the EU’s Interreg Baltic Sea Programme, the project has a budget for around €4.8m ($5.3m) to develop a supply chain for green gaseous hydrogen from production to aircraft and ground vehicle refuelling, as well as test operations.

Involving Finavia, Swedavia, Riga Airport and Tallinn Airport, regional technology provides, universities and authorities are involved in the multinational project.

At the end of the three-year project, a demonstration flight of a hydrogen-powered aircraft is planned to take off from Hamburg Airport, with the goal of developing a completely new network of flight connections.

Expected to start in November 2023, all airports involved in the trial are also expected to be prepared to invest and implement their own infrastructure projects upon conclusion. 

“These are exciting days for the future of aviation,” said Michael Eggenschwiler, chairman of the Executive Board at Hamburg Airport. “We recently announced our cooperation with Rotterdam The Hague Airport on a flight connection for hydrogen based aircraft for hydrogen-based aircraft, and now we are getting the green light for the Baltic Sea Region Project.” 

Jan Eike Hardegan, head of Environment at Hamburg Airport, added: “Hydrogen offers great potential for climate-neutral flights on short-haul routes. General aviation with smaller, future hydrogen-powered aircraft is particularly suitable here. Gaseous hydrogen is the propulsion of the future, especially for smaller general aviation aircraft, such as turboprops with 20-30 seats.”