Progress on hydrogen-powered flights

From Jersey Airport
25th January 2023

A delegation led by Ports of Jersey is travelling to Toulouse this week to cement the collaboration which will transform and decarbonise aviation in the Channel Islands by using clean hydrogen.

Ports of Jersey announced last September that we are working with Universal Hydrogen and Blue Islands to trial the use of green hydrogen as an alternative, fully decarbonised aviation fuel, which will ultimately see Jersey taking a leading position in sustainable air travel within the UK and Europe.

A familiarisation visit to Universal Hydrogen’s Engineering and Design facility in Toulouse has now been arranged. Its aim is to build relationships, start to develop understanding between the technical teams, and progress the workstreams that will eventually see green hydrogen propulsion a reality, with hydrogen available as a fuel for aircraft operators at Jersey Airport.

Several key stakeholders in this project are travelling as part of the delegation to increase their understanding of hydrogen as a safe, true-zero aviation fuel, and to better understand the work that’s underway to retrofit the type of aircraft used by Blue Islands.

The delegation will consist of representatives from Ports of Jersey, Blue Islands, Government of Jersey, Jersey Electricity, ATF Fuels, the Office of the Director of Civil Aviation, and Ports of Jersey’s development consultants, Mott Macdonald.

The day will start with an introduction from Universal Hydrogen (UH), a briefing on the retrofitting of the aircraft for hydrogen propulsion, UH’s unique fuel pod system and the production and supply of green hydrogen. It will conclude with a tour of their facility. There will also be technical meetings covering the production, storage and safety aspects of hydrogen as an aircraft fuel, and the associated performance and carbon footprint of the aircraft.

Sustainable aviation

Ports of Jersey’s CEO, Matt Thomas, said: “Ports of Jersey and Blue Islands are committed to responsibly connecting our Islands and working towards a future of truly sustainable aviation. This partnership demonstrates our ability to collaborate and innovate for the benefit of Islanders and the planet.”

Minister for Economic Development, Deputy Kirsten Morel, said: “This is a really exciting initiative that 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.

“We are committed to meeting our Net Zero commitments in line with both the Paris Agreement and Carbon Neutral Roadmap, and exploring new options for aviation fuel forms an important part of this.”

The CEO of Blue Islands, Rob Veron, said: “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. For the longer-term, net zero is the ultimate goal.”

Airport Director, Robin MacRae, said: “Universal Hydrogen and Blue Islands have signed a letter of intent to use Universal Hydrogen’s aircraft conversion kits on Blue Islands’ ATR 72 aircraft. The modular capsules used mean there’s no need for changes to existing airport infrastructure, and this zero-emissions solution can 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.”

The delegation is due to travel to Toulouse tomorrow, Thursday, 26 January. The carbon emissions from the flight will be offset by Blue Islands using their Durrell Rewild Carbon programme.

Jersey Airport