01.08.2023 - Green technology, Technology

Latvian partners join project to test hydrogen solutions in aviation

The Latvian Hydrogen Association, Riga Airport and other partners from Latvia are joining a project initiated by Hamburg Airport to improve regional connectivity and promote the use of hydrogen solutions in aviation.

BSR Hydrogen Air Transport – Preparation of Baltic Sea Region Airports for Green Hydrogen is a European Union-funded project aiming to better connect rural regions of the Baltic Sea with existing aviation hubs, also using hydrogen-powered small aircraft. 

Riga Airport, the Latvian University of Biosciences and Technologies and aviation fuel supplier Gulfstream Oil will participate in the development of the project at the invitation of the Latvian Hydrogen Association. 

“Riga Airport has set ambitious goals in the field of sustainability to become a climate-neutral airport. Participating in various types of innovation projects is one of the ways to achieve these goals by promoting innovation and the development of new technologies, which will also be used in our airport in the future and will promote the competitiveness of Riga Airport,” says Airport Board Member Normunds Feierbergs.

A total of 16 partners are involved in the project, as well as 24 associated organisations, including national airline airBaltic and Liepāja Airport. Almost all major airport operators located around the Baltic Sea, such as Finavia, Swedavia, Tallinn and Lithuanian airports are represented in the initiative. The partnership also involves several smaller airports and regional airlines.

The project will start this November and is due to run for about three years. The budget is approximately 4.8 million euros, of which approximately 1.1 million euros will be allocated to Hamburg Airport, while the other project partners will receive funding in the amount of approximately 80 %. 

Preparing airports for hydrogen-powered aircraft

The project aims, among other things, to revitalise regional air traffic. An important part of it is the development of a green, gaseous hydrogen supply chain from production to the refuelling of aircraft or airport ground equipment, as well as other pilot operations. The project aims to develop the prerequisites for an airport infrastructure adapted to hydrogen-powered aircraft. 

At its conclusion, all airports must be ready to invest in and implement their own infrastructure projects, and a real demonstration flight with a hydrogen plane will be held from Hamburg Airport.

Aivars Starikovs, Board Member of the Latvian Hydrogen Association, says that this is a great opportunity for Latvia to participate in a pilot project together with large European airports, which have access to much more funding for conducting various experiments, and to obtain detailed data analysis. 

“Hydrogen as an energy carrier can be both an aviation fuel and serve as an energy supply solution for the airport’s service infrastructure, which is often neglected. However, the service infrastructure, such as the energy supply for air traffic controllers and terminals, the provision of backup current power, runway lighting and cleaners, territory survey drones, etc., play an even more important role in achieving the goals of climate neutrality than the use of aviation fuel in air transportation,” concludes Starikovs.

The project is taking place within the framework of the Interreg Baltic Sea Programme under its Green Mobility funding category.

Source: Press release
Photo: Shutterstock

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