Jersey delegation to assess hydrogen-powered flight

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HYDROGEN-powered flight technology – which could lead to zero-emission planes by 2025 – is to be presented to a delegation of Jersey stakeholders this week as part of a drive to decarbonise aviation in the Channel Islands.

Representatives from Ports of Jersey, Blue Islands, Jersey Electricity, ATF Fuels, the office of the director of civil aviation, the government and Ports’ development consultants Mott Macdonald were today due to visit aviation company Universal Hydrogen’s engineering and design facility in Toulouse.

Airport director Robin MacRae said the ‘zero-emissions solution’ could be ready by 2025.

‘A large part of Jersey’s electricity grid is already supplied by clean energy, and this partnership aligns with Ports of Jersey’s commitment to playing a leading role in the decarbonisation of aviation.’

Blue Islands chief executive Rob Veron said net-zero emissions was ‘the ultimate goal’ in the longer-term.

‘Connecting people is an essential part of Island life and we have a responsibility to do it sustainably. Blue Islands offsets 100% of its carbon emissions via Durrell’s nature-based Rewild Carbon programme. This is the start of our journey to a sustainable future. The next step is to further reduce our impact by adopting next-generation technologies as they evolve for commercial use, including exploring hydrogen-powered flights,’ he added.

The visit is intended to cement a collaboration between Ports, Universal Hydrogen and Blue Islands to trial the use of green hydrogen as an alternative, fully decarbonised aviation fuel.

Universal Hydrogen and Blue Islands have signed a letter of intent to use conversion kits on the airline’s ATR 72 aircraft.

The delegation will receive a briefing on the retrofitting of the aircraft for hydrogen propulsion, Universal Hydrogen’s unique fuel pod system and the production and supply of green hydrogen, as well as a tour of their facility. There will also be technical meetings about the production, storage and safety aspects of hydrogen as an aircraft fuel.

Economic Development Minister Kirsten Morel said the initiative could see Jersey taking ‘a leading role’ in sustainable air travel within Europe.

‘Like all forms of transportation, the aviation industry is moving towards zero-carbon travel and this project puts Jersey at the forefront of this move,’ he added.

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