The French government last week announced the creation of a council to promote the increased use of hydrogen as an alternative to carbon-based fuels. The cross-industry Conseil national de l’hydrogene body, which will include representatives from the aviation sector, will advise on plans to provide around €7 billion ($8.5 billion) in government funding for a national strategy to develop hydrogen applications through 2030.
Airbus engineering vice president Jean-Brice Dumont will represent the European aerospace group and French trade association GIFAS on the council. “A collective approach is needed to meet the challenges of decarbonizing mobility,” he commented, adding that this is a key priority for the air transport sector.
The initiative was announced jointly by France’s minister for “ecological transition,” Barbara Pompili; economics, finance, and recovery minister Bruno Le Maire; higher education minister Frederique Vidal; and industry minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher. The €7 billion budget for the hydrogen initiative includes €2 billion committed under the auspices of France’s Covid recovery plan for the country’s economy.
During 2020, Airbus indicated that it increasingly views hydrogen as the main focus of its efforts to support zero-carbon air transport by 2035. The aircraft manufacturer is exploring plans for hydrogen-powered narrowbody airliners through its ZeroE program. Dumont was formerly with Airbus Helicopters, which has been evaluating an all-electric eVTOL technology demonstrator called CityAirbus.
Meanwhile, the Vertical Flight Society is launching a hydrogen technical committee to explore applications for the fuel with eVTOL aircraft. The group is holding its first meeting on January 18 and will be chaired by Michael Dyment, managing partner with Nexa Capital Partners, which advises on investments in the advanced air mobility sector.