Airport Energy Hubs

At the World Economic Forum, Aviation Day, the industry's decarbonisation was discussed, with a focus on hydrogen as a potential solution. Paul Perera emphasized the need for liquid hydrogen, while Airbus stressed the importance of creating an integrated solution combining different technologies. 

Many in the World Economic Forum's Aviation Day highlighted the need for cross-industry collaboration, and some noted the importance of considering airport size and potential liquid hydrogen demands. The conversation also touched on the challenges and opportunities of decarbonising airports and seaports, as well as the potential for energy hubs in island and mountainous regions. 

Speakers discussed the importance of preparing for a multi-fuel future and keeping track of various technologies and investments.

Action areas

• Develop master plan for new airport considering hydrogen aircraft needs
• Lobby governments to enable timely nuclear power deployment
• Focus current efforts on decarbonization with sustainable aviation fuels
• Plan airport infrastructure upgrades for multi-fuel future
• Pursue energy transition opportunities as airport operator

Outline of the discusssion about Energy demand and supply in airports, and the potential for Energy Hubs at airports.

WEF introduced a definition of "energy sphere" and invited discussion on the topic.Then the discussion moved on to energy demand and infrastructure readiness for hydrogen-powered aircraft.

* Participants expect significant demand for H2 at airports by 2035, with aircraft propulsion being a major driver.
* Hydrogen generation and microgrids in airports to address energy needs.
* Critical mass of acres and local demand rank highest for HQ infrastructure readiness.
* Speakers discussed potential applications of hydrogen fuel in various industries, including aviation and maritime.
* Paul mentions cross-industry collaboration for hydrogen production and transportation, with a focus on gaseous and liquid hydrogen.
* Some in the rolm raised questions about the feasibility of transporting hydrogen from remote locations to airports, and the potential need for pipelines.

Using hydrogen as a clean energy source for transportation and other industries.

* There were discussions about various scenarios for hydrogen use in aviation, including airport-based hydrogen production and transportation to other industries
* Paul Perera highlighted the need for lightweight hydrogen storage solutions and the potential for aviation to pioneer material choices for other industries.
* Paul Perera emphasized safety and confidence in flying, and building that through other modes of transport. 

Decarbonising various sectors with a focus on airports.

* The concensus was highlighting the need for a coordinated effort to decarbonise various sectors, including rail, trucking, maritime, and aviation, with a focus on green hydrogen and ammonia as transition fuels.

Hydrogen energy potential in Dubai airports and surrounding areas.

* Airport operatora highlighted the potential for hydrogen applications in Dubai, including buses at the airport and underground infrastructure, and notes the need for scaling and investment in the sector.
* Some asked for examples of search clusters and inspiration from other parts of the world, and othwra responds that there are no other examples like Dubai's unique situation, with large airports and seaports requiring hydrogen infrastructure.
* Dubai presents an integrated solution for sustainable aviation at the new Al Maktoum airport, including hydrogen production, electricity generation, and carbon capture technologies.
* Others expressed interest in scaling this technology to other airports, such as Heathrow and Atlanta, to rapidly advance technology and insights.

Categorising airports for hydrogen supply and demand.

* The conversation highlights the importance of considering regional differences in hydrogen supply structures and potential synergies with other industries.
* It was agreed that evaluating the size of airports and potential demands is crucial before partnering with any industry.

Sustainable energy solutions for an airport.

* Geneva Airport aims to generate over 50,000 square meters of solar energy panels to power its operations.
* The Airport is exploring the use of airport rates as smart grids with storage capacity, and has deployed geothermals and hydrogen technology to ensure energy security.

Decarbonising transportation and aviation sectors.

* Conversations emphasised the importance of considering the whole transport sector and economy when decarbonising, rather than just the aviation sector.

Decarbonising airport operations and hydrogen fuel.

* WEF emphasised the importance of decarbonising airport operations, particularly scope one and scope two emissions, which are easy to address through electrification and connecting to low-carbon grids.
* Some of those highlighted the potential of hydrogen as a partner with other industries, but notes that it's not a straightforward solution and requires careful consideration of grid carbon intensity and other factors.
* Airlines should play a role in demand signals for decarbonisation effort
* Expert panel discusses hydrogen-powered aircraft, safety, and ecosystem benefits.

Using liquid hydrogen in aviation industry.

* There was an input from airline OEM, demystifying the use of liquid hydrogen for chemical industries, highlighting safety and economic challenges.
* Others raises concerns about storing gases in liquid form, including high pressure and material issues.
* Some suggested using hydrogen as a more economical and practical solution for aviation fuel.

Hydrogen production for aircraft fuel.

* finds on-site hydrogen production lenient, preferring centralized production for long-distance transportation.

Hydrogen fuel for aircraft, market growth, and infrastructure development.

* There was a belief that the hydrogen market will grow as aircraft certification progresses, with entry into service expected in 2028 or later for smaller, more commuter-friendly aircraft.
* The speaker notes that the market will evolve as the industry grows, with no one archetype or methodology being right for every case.
* Some predicts it will take 20-30 years for hydrogen-powered aircraft to become cost-competitive with traditional fossil fuels.
* Developing hydrogen infrastructure outside of airports to minimise risk and acceptance issues.

Hydrogen energy production and infrastructure.

* Aiport CEOs suggested that airports are interested in reducing noise and emissions, and that hydrogen could be a solution if it can be stored and transported efficiently.
* A German example of how hydrogen projects can face resistance from local communities, even if they have been in operation for years, with Stutgart airport was raised.
* Some suggested using hydrogen power for airports in a microgrid where the grid connections are constraints to expansion, but notes challenges with deployment and sustainability.

Energy transition and airport infrastructure.

* Much of the discussion was about the timeline for aircraft decarbonisation, suggesting a focus on decarbonization efforts in the next 15-20 years.
* Some airport operators discusses the need for 700 tonnes of hydrogen per day for New Delhi, equivalent to 1.5 gigawatts of nuclear power.
* This highlights the challenges of airport infrastructure changes for the energy transition, including safety, economics, and the role of adjacent industries.

Future of air travel and energy sources.

* Conclusions were that a multi-fuel approach for airports, prioritising hydrogen for power-to-liquids and electricity source efficiency.

Energy hubs in airports with regional focus.

* Speakers discuss potential locations for energy hubs, including islands and mountain regions, with Asia expected to have significant growth and innovation.
* Some highlighted the challenges of on-site production in urban areas, while Speaker 19 emphasises the importance of regional differences in energy demand aggregation.