Aerospace Technology Institute Launches Hydrogen Capability Network for UK Aviation

17 May, 2023 | News

The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) has initiated a £1.29 million ($1.61 million) project to develop a Hydrogen Capability Network in the UK, addressing the nation’s limited hydrogen-related testing capabilities and skills. This move aims to support the aviation industry’s adoption of liquid hydrogen (LH2) as a fuel source.

The 12-month study will focus on three key areas: test infrastructure, LH2 supply and storage, and skills development. Phase 0, the initial step, aims to establish an operating model for a group of open-access facilities to fast-track the development of LH2-fueled aircraft technologies. The study team plans to develop the concept of a Hydrogen Capability Network up to its launch point.

Credit: Aerospace Technology Institute

Phase 0 will focus on defining test infrastructure requirements, securing LH2 supply for tests and research, creating an LH2 academy to speed up skills development, and committing funds to establish an initial operational capability for the network.

In 2022, the ATI’s £15 million, two-year FlyZero project united around 100 industry experts to study zero-emission commercial aviation. LH2 emerged as the top fuel choice, leading to the recommendation for a centre of excellence to address the UK’s limited hydrogen-related capabilities.

The FlyZero project suggested the creation of a cross-sector hydrogen technology centre with open-access facilities to facilitate research into fundamental hydrogen behaviour, including cryogenics. Safe handling, standards and regulations, material properties, and test specifications are also areas to be addressed.

Harry Malins, ATI’s Chief Innovation Officer, comments that the project will drive forward the decarbonization of the aerospace sector, securing the infrastructure, skills, and capability needed for the UK to maintain a competitive edge in the global industry.

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