Bristol Airport, Airbus and easyJet are among the nine companies that have formed a new consortium to drive the development of a hydrogen infrastructure ecosystem.
The cross-sector collaboration includes organisations from aerospace, shipping, hi-tech engineering and public utilities industries, with those involved saying their key aim is to decarbonise transport, commerce and power while accelerating sustainable growth and providing job opportunities.
Work to explore the possibilities of establishing a hydrogen port at Bristol Port is among the pilot projects planned by the new consortium. This could involve configuring the port to accept hydrogen or ammonia by ship, power landside vehicles with hydrogen and establish a hydrogen production facility at the port.
Those leading the project say the South West is “poised to become a centre of excellence for hydrogen expertise”.
The announcement comes as Bristol Airport continues to face criticism for its expansion plans, which campaigners argue are at odds with carbon reduction commitments. A high court judge recently ruled that an appeal to stop the expansion will be heard in Bristol rather than London.
Focusing on key sectors such as shipping, aviation and housing, the consortium also comprises industrial heavyweights GKN Aerospace; consultants and engineers Costain and Wood, Hynamics, a subsidiary of EDF group, Bristol Port and Wales and West Utilities.
Those leading the project say the collaboration creates links between supply and demand centres in the region and enables cross-sector partnerships that will drive the development of hydrogen infrastructure and technology.
Simon Earles, Hydrogen South West chair and director of sustainability for Bristol Airport said: “The South West has a rich engineering and energy history and is home to a powerful cluster of leading aerospace, transport and logistics businesses.
“This combination of industrial experience, delivery expertise and regional knowledge presents a formidable opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to alternative power at scale.”
The Hydrogen South West consortium says it supports the government’s drive to generate 10 GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030.
Jey Williams, head of fuel systems integration and Airbus focal point for Hydrogen South West, added: “Hydrogen South West will leverage Airbus’ positive impact on the region in terms of hydrogen skills and supply chain development, and in turn, Airbus will benefit from cross-industry collaboration to understand and deliver the hydrogen ecosystems needed for net zero flight.”