Singapore Embarks on Hydrogen-Powered Aviation Journey

By Ivan PetrenkoFeb 23, 2024 15:32 PMNews
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Model of a molecule with colorful balls representing different atoms connected by sticks to illustrate bonds, on a reflective black surface
Model of a molecule with colorful balls representing different atoms connected by sticks to illustrate bonds, on a reflective black surface. Source: unsplash

Singapore is positioning itself at the forefront of aviation decarbonization with a strategic focus on hydrogen fuel as a potential game-changer. The establishment of the Singapore Hydrogen Cooperation Committee, a collaborative effort by Airbus, Changi Airport Group, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), and Linde, underscores the nation's commitment to exploring hydrogen's viability for the aviation sector. This initiative follows the Cooperation Agreement signed in February 2022, highlighting a unified approach towards sustainable aviation.

The committee's work over the past months has laid a solid foundation, delving into the intricacies of hydrogen demand and supply, infrastructure needs, and the establishment of a thriving hydrogen ecosystem within the city-state. With the aviation industry's eyes set on reducing carbon emissions, the exploration of liquid hydrogen as a fuel source for future aircraft generations is a significant step. This proactive approach ensures Singapore's readiness to integrate hydrogen fuel into its decarbonization strategy as the technology matures.

Sabine Klauke, Airbus's Chief Technology Officer, emphasized the growing interest in hydrogen investments within the Asia-Pacific region. The collective efforts in developing new technologies and supply chains are seen as pivotal to achieving net zero by 2050. Hydrogen is envisioned to complement sustainable aviation fuel, offering a longer-term decarbonization pathway for aircraft operations.

The committee's projections suggest a substantial demand for liquid hydrogen at Changi Airport, anticipating a daily consumption of up to 50 tonnes by the 2040s and 600 tonnes beyond 2050. This forecast is based on the entry of hydrogen aircraft, designed for 100 to 200 passengers with a range of 1000 to 2000 nautical miles, into service between 2035 and 2040.

Mr Han Kok Juan, Director-General of CAAS, highlighted the global aviation community's goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. He pointed out that while sustainable aviation fuels are the current focus, hydrogen could play a complementary role in the future. The CAAS is actively sharing key findings for national planning and keeping an eye on hydrogen technology developments.

Ms Poh Li San of Changi Airport Group and John Panikar of Linde echoed the sentiment of cautious optimism, acknowledging the nascent stage of hydrogen technology. The industry is exploring various aspects such as operations, safety, regulations, and economics to support hydrogen's role in aviation and ground activities. Linde's extensive experience with hydrogen is expected to be instrumental in developing the aviation sector's hydrogen infrastructure.

The committee's roadmap includes monitoring technology maturity, developing operational concepts, establishing safety regulations, and creating a robust hydrogen supply chain. The aim is to ensure the aviation industry's readiness to adopt hydrogen fuel, making it a key component of the global clean energy transition and Singapore's journey towards sustainable aviation.

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