Full Title: Climate-Tech to Watch: Hydrogen Powered Aviation
Author(s): Hannah Boyles
Publisher(s): Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
Publication Date: February 21, 2023
Full Text: Download Resource
Policymakers and the aviation industry see hydrogen as a promising low-carbon fuel for aviation. But to make hydrogen-powered flight a reality, they first need to bring down the cost of green hydrogen and overcome aircraft design challenges.
Commercial aviation accounted for roughly 2.5 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2018, and that share is expected to grow. And according to the Energy Information Administration, the aviation sector is not on track to reach the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Leaders in the aviation industry see hydrogen as a potential solution to addressing the climate impacts of short- to medium-haul flights. But it currently costs two to four times more per megawatt hour (MWh) than conventional jet fuel.
For hydrogen to be viable, costs will have to come down, aircraft manufacturers will need to make significant modifications to planes and engine designs, and operators will require new fuel-distribution infrastructure. Lawmakers have provided tax credits and research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) support to lower hydrogen prices. But further RD&D support is needed to bring hydrogen-powered aircraft to market, understand the climate impacts, and make low-cost, clean hydrogen widely available.