A letter of intent was signed in Groningen last week, in which Groningen Airport Eelde, aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Fokker and energy companies ENGIE, Shell, RWE and Gasunie, among others, agreed to test hydrogen-powered aviation.
Testing from 2027
Testing should be possible from 2027. The test flights require transport pipelines for liquid hydrogen, something the energy companies are working on. By acting together, they are trying to secure European funding for the project.
Perfect test site for ENGIE
Commercial Manager Niek ten Bloemendal is involved in the project on behalf of ENGIE: “By the end of 2025, ENGIE’s projects aim to kick-start the hydrogen economy in Groningen and the Netherlands by commissioning a 100MW electrolyser. This will start with the HyNetherlands project in Eemshaven. In addition, ENGIE will import liquid hydrogen from 2028 with the H2Sines.Rdam project. Aircraft manufacturer Airbus wants to be able to fly on hydrogen from 2035. The timelines align nicely so that we can start testing for flying on hydrogen earlier. Groningen Airport Eelde is the perfect location for that so we can fly emission-free around the world.”
Partners such as NOM, Province of Drenthe, New Energy Coalition, Conscious Aerospace, Groningen Seaports and the Netherlands Aerospace Centre are also involved in the project. The infrastructure for hydrogen production and transport needs to be realised in the coming years.
Groningen Airport Eelde wants to become the first Hydrogen Valley Airport in the Netherlands. The next step in this ambition was recently taken with the unveiling of a hydrogen generator, which powers aircraft on the ground.