EU: green hydrogen in aviation would cost 300 billion euros – 05/24/2023 – Market

EU: green hydrogen in aviation would cost 300 billion euros – 05/24/2023 – Market

Deploying hydrogen jets in Europe will require 300 billion euros (R$1.65 trillion) of investment and a tax on traditional jet fuels, according to a new study by a clean energy group, showing the scale of the challenge for policy makers in the adoption of “green” aviation.

Airbus, the world’s biggest plane maker, has said it aims to launch a zero-emission hydrogen-powered aircraft by 2035, but has warned about the pace of development of the necessary infrastructure.

The study published by the NGO T&E (Transport & Environment) on Monday (22) concluded that the cost of developing the hydrogen supply chain in Europe would be 299 billion euros between 2025 and 2050, largely composed of the cost of production, liquefaction and distribution of green hydrogen.

The high cost would make hydrogen planes 8% more expensive than jet-powered planes by 2035 unless kerosene was taxed, he estimated.

If jet fuel were taxed and carbon emissions priced, however, hydrogen planes could be 2% cheaper to operate, according to the study.

The research considered a carbon price of 127 euros (R$ 700) per ton of carbon dioxide until 2035. The carbon price today is just under 85 euros (R$ 467) per ton, after reaching a peak of just over one hundred euros (R$535) a ton in February, in the European Union exchange system that allows companies to trade carbon emission licenses.

Kerosene taxation has not yet been introduced, but the T&E group has based its calculations for a rate in line with the current proposals presented by the European Commission, which estimate a tax of around 0.37 euros (R$ 2) per liter. The price of aviation fuel, which roughly tracks crude oil, is now around 0.55 euros (R$3) per litre.

“If we want Airbus to do what it says, we will need to create a market for zero-emission aircraft by taxing fossil fuel for aviation and demanding zero-emission planes in the future,” said Carlos López de la Osa, technical manager of aviation at T&E .

Airbus said it was “committed to bringing the first hydrogen-powered commercial aircraft to market by 2035, but taxation is not the solution to getting there”.

“Incentives that promote investment in technologies and infrastructure, as well as carbon pricing and market-based measures, provide a more cost-effective way to produce the necessary reduction in aviation emissions,” he added.

Aviation is proving to be one of the most difficult industries to decarbonize, in part because battery technology is not advanced enough to power aircraft beyond relatively short distances.

Hydrogen, produced by splitting hydrogen atoms in water molecules, has been touted by policymakers as a crucial fuel for the decarbonization of heavy industries, if produced using renewable energy.

The aviation industry has committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions targets through a combination of new fuel technologies, including the use of SAFs (sustainable aviation fuels) and hydrogen, as well as aircraft, engines and traffic management. more efficient airlines.

Opinions differ on how quickly hydrogen can help decarbonize the industry, given the technical challenges involved, but many aviation experts predict that flying will become more expensive.

“Flying in the future will be more expensive. Now there is a way around that,” said De la Osa. “Hydrogen aviation will make economic sense as long as we apply the polluter pays principle. Otherwise, the industry will shoot itself in the foot.”

Translated by Luiz Roberto M. Gonçalves

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