With a funding amount of almost €10 million and a duration of 48 months, the ALRIGH2T project "Airport-level demonstration of ground refuelling of liquid hydrogen for aviation" aims to develop innovative refuelling technologies and processes that will help to reduce the environmental impact of the aviation sector, which causes 2.5-3% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
ENEA, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, is leading this collaborative project, funded by the European Union under the «Horizon Europe Programme», which aims to facilitate the transition to liquid hydrogen-based propulsion solutions with proven efficiency, safety and profitability.
Salzburger Aluminium Group nominated as development partner for tank system
In order to achieve this, ALRIGH2T brought together an international consortium of 21 partners from 7 European Union countries and Israel: Italy (ENEA, Piaggio Aerospace, Digisky, SEA, ATENA), Austria (AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, LKR Leichtmetallkompetenzzentrum Ranshofen, SAG, Test-Fuchs), Germany (Linde, Technical University of Munich), Switzerland (Linde Kryotechnik), France (TLD, Universal Hydrogen Europe, Group Europe Handling, Amelia Regourd Aviation, Groupe ADP, INERIS), Norway (SINTEF), Spain (Zabala Innovation) and Israel (Israel Aerospace Industries). A wide range of facilities, companies and institutions, including academic centres, all of which have specialist knowledge in the development and manufacture of aviation equipment and liquid hydrogen.
On the way to climate-neutral aviation: LH2-based powertrain system
Hydrogen-based drive systems have the potential to be an essential part of the powertrain technology mix in the near future in order to achieve climate-neutral aviation by 2050. The combustion of hydrogen could reduce the climate impact per flight by 50-75% compared to kerosene-based engines, while fuel cell-based propulsion has an even greater impact reduction (75-90%).
However, the development of innovative LH2-based solutions entails many new challenges in terms of hydrogen management and handling at airports, ensuring delivery deadlines and maintaining a high level of safety and operational security. The use of refuelling systems from ALRIGH2T aims to overcome these significant challenges posed by the use of LH2 in aviation.
LH2 direct refuelling and tank change tested at international airports
Innovative solutions discussed in the project, direct refuelling of LH2 aircraft and fuel swapping, will be demonstrated at two European airports: Milan-Malpensa International Airport and a reference airport in Paris. This approach will allow the ALRIGH2T project to cover different types of airports and inspire other airports or potential opportunities to replicate the solutions developed.
In particular, ALRIGH2T will develop and test full-scale hydrogen-powered aviation technologies with the aim of bringing these solutions to the market and realising advances that are crucial for the future deployment of LH2-powered aircraft.
Solutions must be found to ensure the proper supply of hydrogen to the aircraft, correct ground movements at the airport and the definition of new clauses and standardisation guidelines for the implementation and replication of these solutions at other airports.