Griffith University has joined key players in the Australian aviation and green hydrogen industries with the launch of the Hydrogen Flight Alliance (HFA) at Brisbane Airport.

Minister Mick De Brenni launches the HFA.

The aim of the Alliance is to ensure Australia plays a leading role in the aviation industry’s transition towards net-zero by 2050, and its first mission is to enable Australia’s first commercial emission-free, hydrogen-powered flight between Brisbane and Gladstone in 2026.

Griffith climate and aviation experts will play key roles in the lead up to this exciting outcome.

Dr Emma Whittlesea, Associate Executive Director of The Climate Ready Initiative at Griffith University said: “Griffith University, through its multidisciplinary Climate Ready Initiative, Griffith Aviation, and Centre for Applied Energy Economics and Policy Research brings teaching, research

Stralis CEO Bob Criner and Skytrans co-owner Johnathan Thurston.

and policy capability and expertise to the alliance, and are particularly interested in progressing the action learning and applied research opportunity in collaboration with project partners and other stakeholders.”

The Brisbane-Gladstone route will be operated by Skytrans Airlines using a 15-seat Stralis B1900D-HE aircraft, designed and built in Brisbane. The only emissions from the tailpipe of this aircraft will be water vapour.

A combustion aircraft engine.

Both cities already have significant green hydrogen developments underway, making them ideal locations to launch the first hydrogen electric aircraft routes in Australia.

Stralis Aircraft will begin flight testing their hydrogen electric-powered, six-seat Beechcraft Bonanza demonstrator aircraft in early 2024. These flights will occur in Southeast Queensland, allowing the alliance to gain real world experience operating and refuelling hydrogen aircraft.

Queensland rugby league icon Johnathan Thurston is co-owner of Skytrans, who will operate the route.

Stralis Aircraft’s hydrogen-powered engine.

Brisbane is planning for the 2032 Olympic Games to be a climate positive event. The HFA is working to enable the vision of athletes being flown around Queensland during the games on locally built emission free aircraft.

Raechel Paris, Executive General Manager, Governance & Sustainability at Brisbane Airport Corporation said: “Brisbane Airport supports the ambition of the Hydrogen Flight Alliance (HFA) to decarbonise aviation with innovative technologies like hydrogen electric flight. With Queensland home to the largest number of regional flights in Australia, Brisbane is the perfect testing ground for zero emissions aircraft.”

Green hydrogen has the potential to contribute significantly to the decarbonisation of air travel. However, challenges around the fuel’s availability at scale, future cost and airport supply infrastructure need to be solved. Consortiums like the HFA bring together the diverse mix of expertise required to make progress in these areas.

Formation of this alliance will establish a clean technology innovation hub in Queensland, generating world class jobs, training programs and emission free aircraft manufacturing. Australia is an ideal location to trial hydrogen flight, due to its abundance of renewable energy and developing green hydrogen industry.

Members of the Hydrogen Flight Alliance.

Commercial hydrogen electric aircraft will be designed, tested and certified with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to the same level of safety as conventional aircraft.

Bob Criner, Co-Founder & CEO of Stralis Aircraft said: “The HFA allows us to answer the most common question we hear from airline customers, which is how they will access affordable green hydrogen at airports in future. This is not a problem we can solve on our own, it requires industry collaboration.”

The Hydrogen Flight Alliance members include:

  •      Stralis Aircraft
  •      Skytrans Airlines
  •      Brisbane Airport
  •      Gladstone Airport
  •      Aviation Australia
  •      BOC
  •      h2ec
  •      Griffith University
  •      Central Queensland University
11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
UN Sustainable Development Goals 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

12: Responsible Consumption and Production
UN Sustainable Development Goals 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

13: Climate Action
UN Sustainable Development Goals 13: Climate Action

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