Hydrogen-fuelled passenger plane test an ‘exciting step towards carbon neutrality’ for Jersey

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THE successful test flight of the largest ever hydrogen-powered plane is an ‘exciting step towards carbon neutrality’ for the Island, according to the Economic Development Minister.

Deputy Kirsten Morel made the comments shortly after Universal Hydrogen completed a successful test of a 40-passenger airliner powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

The 15-minute trip, which took place last week in the United States, was the first in a two-year flight test programme which aims to culminate in 2025 with Blue Islands’ ATR aircraft entering passenger service powered by hydrogen.

The aircraft used in the recent test was the largest plane ever to fly powered principally by hydrogen. It reached an altitude of 3,500 feet above sea level.

Ports of Jersey is working with Universal Hydrogen and Blue Islands to trial the use of green hydrogen as an alternative, fully decarbonised aviation fuel. A Jersey delegation conducted a visit to Universal Hydrogen’s base in Toulouse earlier this year.

Deputy Morel said: ‘Jersey has committed to carbon neutrality by 2050, and our ambition is for a future in which Jersey is both well-connected and sustainable.

‘This test flight is an exciting step towards that becoming a reality and is an insight into the Island’s future.’

Ports of Jersey’s chief executive Matt Thomas added: ‘This is great news and I hope this successful test flight will see the global move towards hydrogen-powered transport going from strength to strength.

‘Our work with Universal Hydrogen for the aviation industry, and with OceansLab for the maritime industry, supports our objective to responsibly connect our islands and work towards a future of truly sustainable travel.’

Blue Islands’ chief executive Rob Veron explained: ‘We’re committed to sustainably connecting our islands, and reducing our impact through next-generation technologies is our future.

‘We’re proud to be partnering with Universal Hydrogen. Its ground-breaking test flight of a hydrogen-powered regional aircraft is a major milestone in this journey – a step closer to our ultimate goal of net-zero.’

Airport director Robin MacRae described the test flight as a ‘significant milestone’ for Ports’ partnership with Universal Hydrogen and Blue Islands.

‘This historic first test flight in the USA is the start of decarbonisation of the global airline industry and we are proud of the small part we hope to play in the road to zero-carbon-emission flying,’ he said.

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