South Korea’s Incheon International Airport will develop a roadmap for hydrogen usage within its operations as part of a new partnership formed today (10th Feb) with Air Liquide, Airbus and Korean Air.

Set to decarbonise both the airport itself and the wider aviation sector, the group will support both the deployment of hydrogen ecosystems to support both ground operations and hydrogen-powered commercial aircraft.

It is believed the above will be carried out in two steps. Firstly, the group will develop a roadmap to first develop hydrogen uses at and around Incheon Airport and then they will focus on the needed infrastructure to support hydrogen flights.

However, Incheon Airport is already ahead of the game when it comes to hydrogen, having already deployed two high-capacity hydrogen stations with Air Liquide which were started up in August last year (2021).

Francois Abrial, member of the Air Liquide Group’s Executive Committee supervising Asia-Pacific, said, “Momentum is building around hydrogen, notably with initiatives to accelerate the development of a more sustainable aviation.

“South Korea is one of the most active countries in the world for hydrogen activities and we are pleased to participate with our partners in the development of the country’s hydrogen economy.

“By starting to introduce hydrogen now through mobility projects, and with the ambition of developing liquid hydrogen infrastructures for airports in the future, we are contributing to building a more sustainable future.”

Under the signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), each party will have a key role to play. Air Liquide will focus on the entire value chain, with a specific focus on liquid hydrogen supply and Airbus will share expertise on hydrogen-powered aircraft ground operations.

Further to that, Korean air will focus on ground aircraft operations and aviation management and operations and Incheon International Airport Corporation will provide an airport development plan outlook – and of course be the host of the project. 

The commitment comes at a time when multiple flight operators are being to consider hydrogen as a future fuel for aeroplanes, and therefore need airports to get on board with the transition. Part of the group, Airbus has already committed to having its first hydrogen-powered aircraft in the air by 2025.

Specifically for Korea, the move also supports the government’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.