Manchester airport has unveiled plans to secure a direct supply of hydrogen fuel for its airline partners from the mid 2030s.

The airport is on track to become the first UK airport to achieve this milestone thanks to its new partnership with Hynet, one of the UK’s government-backed industrial decarbonisation projects.

Hynet is a low carbon energy project which, from the mid-2020s, will produce, store and distribute hydrogen as well as capturing and storing carbon. According to Hynet, the project has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions from across North West England and North Wales by 10 million tonnes every year by 2030.

Manchester airport has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the two founding partners of Hynet: Progressive Energy, which develops projects to decarbonise the energy sector, and Cadent, which will build and operate the hydrogen pipeline network.

The partners will work together to assess the future demand for hydrogen for aviation and explore the feasibility to connect Manchester airport to Hynet’s regional network.

Chris Woodroofe, managing director, Manchester Airport said:

“This announcement demonstrates the meaningful action we are taking to ensure we can deliver a carbon-free future for the aviation industry. The partnership between Manchester Airport and Hynet is a significant step forward for the future use of hydrogen across the North West, building a more sustainable future for the region.

“By securing a direct supply of hydrogen for our airport, our 60 airlines will be able to make use of this exciting and ground-breaking technology as soon as possible. The use of hydrogen will make a significant contribution to the UK aviation sector’s decarbonisation efforts and supports industry partners in reaching net zero.”

Chris Manson-Whitton, CEO Progressive Energy said:

“Hynet will transform the region by the mid-2020s through delivering low carbon hydrogen produced locally at the UK’s first facilities including Vertex Hydrogen and a range of electrolytic plants. We have a huge level of demand for Hynet hydrogen from across the North West and North Wales from a range of sectors stretching from glass and paper to food and drink to consumer goods.

“Hynet will enable the decarbonisation of industry and transport sectors and, by developing a hydrogen economy, is set to generate a £17 billion economic impact for North West England and North Wales, providing a much-needed boost for businesses across the region.

“We are extremely pleased to be working with Manchester Airport to make a significant impact on decarbonising aviation as we all play our part in reaching net zero and combating climate change.”

The announcement has been backed by Aviation Minister Baroness Vere and Energy and Climate Change Minister Graham Stuart, as well as the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and North West Hydrogen Alliance.

The airport is also making progress towards the supply of sustainable aviation fuel:

Manchester Airport to become UK’s first airport to have a direct SAF jet fuel supply

Manchester airport plans to reach its target of net zero carbon operations by 2038 through such initiatives.