Members of the Hydrogen in Aviation (HIA) group, led by airline easyJet, have conducted a UK first hydrogen trial by using the fuel to power ground support equipment at Bristol Airport. 

Dubbed ‘Project Acorn’, the airside hydrogen refuelling trial has been in development for more than a year and was conducted in collaboration with the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to inform the regulatory body’s guidance on using hydrogen. 

Lahiru Ranasinghe, head of net zero for easyJet, described hydrogen as the “future of short-haul aviation” and said: “Project Acorn is a small but critical step to building our understanding and developing the industry’s practical knowledge of how to use hydrogen within a live airside environment.” 

As shown in a video produced by easyJet, hydrogen used in the trial was stored in compressed gas forms in cylindrical tanks connected to a hyQube refuelling station that was used to fuel a baggage tractor in live operation as part of easyJet and DHL’s ground support operations at the airport. 

The HIA group is an alliance formed of easyJet and industry partners such as Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Orsted, ZeroAvia, GKN Aerospace, and Bristol Airport, which recently published a “milestone” delivery report providing six recommendations to the UK Government to support the development of a hydrogen industry in the country. 

Delivered ahead of the airside trial, the report said that it was important for the CAA to be “appropriately resourced and funded” to lead on certification and regulation for the new fuel and called on the government to provide incentives for its use, fund training for the country’s aviation workforce, and create a transition fund for the industry. 

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Discussing Project Acorn, Tim Johnson, director of strategy, policy and communications at CAA, said: “Projects such as this are cornerstones of our commitment to support innovation and decarbonisation in the industry.

“This trial will serve as the basis of a White Paper which we will also be contributing to, as well as allow for the creation of further safety guidance and regulatory standards for the use of hydrogen in aviation.”

EasyJet’s involvement in the HIA is part of its wider embrace of hydrogen as a future, zero emissions fuel for the aviation industry, alongside development projects such as its work with Rolls-Royce on a hydrogen combustion engine.