Consortium Lays Pathway For Green Hydrogen Aviation in New Zealand

A new report called ‘Launching green hydrogen-powered aviation in Aotearoa New Zealand’ demonstrates how the consortium members could work together to remove up to 900,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year by 2050 through the use of hydrogen-fuelled aircraft flying New Zealand domestic routes.

The Report has just been released by the New Zealand Hydrogen Aviation Consortium – a partnership of six international businesses Airbus, Air New Zealand, Christchurch Airport, Fortescue, Hiringa Energy, and Fabrum. Airbus is working to develop the world’s first hydrogen aircraft for commercial use.

Launched in February 2023, the Consortium has spent the last six months examining the hydrogen supply chain, evaluating the local aviation market’s projected hydrogen requirements, and scoping what it would take to establish a successful hydrogen ecosystem for aviation in New Zealand.

The Consortium has also developed recommendations for the regulations and incentives needed to support the transition to a green hydrogen aviation system.

Its ZEROe Ecosystem Vice President, Karine Guenan says New Zealand is uniquely positioned to lead the testing and deployment of low-carbon aircraft.

“The country’s large potential renewable electricity and water resources are key advantages while the size of aircraft used here and the length of routes flown match the capabilities of hydrogen-powered aircraft. This report lays out the ecosystem required to make that happen. It is a first step and Airbus is committed to leveraging our expertise to work with government, iwi, industries, and other stakeholders to bring it to life,” says Guenan.

Air New Zealand Chief Sustainability Officer, Kiri Hannifin says the Report provides information that could be used to build out a blueprint for hydrogen-powered aviation in New Zealand.

“Air New Zealand is committed to decarbonising its operations.  Green hydrogen-fuelled aircraft is one of the potential levers we have available to us.  This report provides important proof points for both the aviation sector and decision-makers to work together to make that happen.”

The Consortium’s modelling shows New Zealand could use up to 100,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year for hydrogen-fuelled aircraft by 2050 with most of it required to fuel planes at Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch airports.