Latvian airports on board for Hamburg hydrogen project

The Latvian Hydrogen Association and Riga Airport are joining other partners to promote the application of hydrogen solutions within the Latvian aviation industry by supporting an initiative begun by Hamburg Airport.

The EU-backed project "BSR Hydrogen Air Transport – Preparation of Baltic Sea Region Airports for Green Hydrogen" initiated by Hamburg Airport was approved in June, and aims to better connect rural regions of the Baltic Sea with existing aviation hubs, also using hydrogen-powered small aircraft. 

Riga Airport, Latvian University of Biosciences and Technologies and aviation fuel supplier SIA "Gulfstream Oil" will participate in the development of the project at the invitation of the Latvian Hydrogen Association. 

Sixteen partners are involved in the project, as well as 24 associated organizations, including the national airline "airBaltic", Liepāja Airport and others. The project will start this November and will last for about three years. Almost all major airport operators located around the Baltic Sea, such as Finavia, Swedavia, Tallinn and Lithuanian airports are also represented in the initiative.

The project budget is approximately 4.8 million euros, of which approximately 1.1 million euros will be allocated to Hamburg Airport, while the other project partners will also receive 80% EU funding. 

According to a release from Rīga Aiport: "The project aims, among other things, to revitalize regional air traffic, and the partnership also involves several smaller airports and regional airlines. An important part of the project is the development of a green, gaseous hydrogen supply chain from production to the refuelling of aircraft or airport ground equipment, as well as other pilot operations. The aim of the project is to develop the prerequisites for an airport infrastructure adapted to hydrogen-powered aircraft. At its conclusion, all airports must be ready to invest and implement their own infrastructure projects, as well as a real demonstration flight with a hydrogen plane from Hamburg Airport."

Aivars Starikovs, Board Member of the Latvian Hydrogen Association, said:

"Hydrogen as an energy carrier can be both an aviation fuel and serve as an energy supply solution for the airport's service infrastructure, which is often neglected. However, the service infrastructure, such as the energy supply for air traffic controllers and terminals, the provision of backup current power, runway lighting and cleaners, territory survey drones, etc., play an even more important role in achieving the goals of climate neutrality than the use of aviation fuel in air transportation."

"Riga Airport has set ambitious goals in the field of sustainability to become a climate-neutral airport. Participating in various types of innovation projects is one of the ways to achieve these goals by promoting innovation and the development of new technologies, which will also be used in our airport in the future and will promote the competitiveness of Riga Airport," said Airport Board Member Normunds Feierbergs.

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