Airbus Leads Aviation Liquid Hydrogen Project

Render of a hydrogen aviation commuter aircraft.
Image Credit: Airbus

The aviation industry is at a crossroads. Soaring passenger demand necessitates growth, yet environmental concerns demand a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions.

A promising solution is emerging from the skies above Europe: hydrogen powered aircraft.

Led by aerospace giant Airbus, the Ground Operations of Liquid Hydrogen Aircraft (GOLIAT) project is now moving ahead.

This collaboration aims to demonstrate the viability of hydrogen as a future fuel source for aviation.

Europe’s Green Aviation Push

The impetus for GOLIAT lies in Europe’s dual commitment to a cleaner economy and energy independence.

Hydrogen, a versatile fuel with the potential for carbon neutral production, is rapidly gaining traction across various industries.

Recognizing its potential to decarbonize short and medium haul flights, the project aims to unlock hydrogen’s potential for a more sustainable aviation sector.

GOLIAT: €10.8 Million Investment in the Future

GOLIAT, a four year project funded by €10.8 million from the EU’s Horizon Europe Framework Programme, boasts a powerful consortium of ten partners from eight countries.

This diverse group brings together expertise from leading entities like Airbus, airport operators like Royal Schiphol Group and Vinci Airports, and academic institutions like TU Delft and Leibniz University Hannover.

The project adopts a multi pronged approach to tackle the challenges of integrating hydrogen into airport operations.

A core focus lies on developing and rigorously testing LH2 refueling technologies specifically designed for future large commercial aircraft.

This goes hand-in-hand with demonstrating the safe and efficient execution of small-scale LH2 aircraft ground operations at three European airports.

Standardization and Certification

To ensure smooth and safe widespread adoption, GOLIAT prioritizes the development of a comprehensive standardization and certification framework for future LH2 operations.

This framework will establish clear guidelines and protocols, forming the cornerstone of a robust hydrogen aviation ecosystem.

GOLIAT will look beyond technical considerations. The project also delves into the economic feasibility of hydrogen for airports.

Analyzing the sizing and economics of the hydrogen value chain – encompassing production, transportation, and storage – is crucial for assessing the long-term viability of hydrogen as an aviation fuel.

The Promise of Clean and Efficient Fuel

As a clean and efficient fuel source, LH2 offers a compelling solution for tackling the aviation industry’s greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.

Its high energy density makes it ideal for long-range flights, a crucial factor in maintaining global connectivity.

However, challenges remain. LH2’s lower volumetric energy density compared to jet fuel may necessitate design modifications in future aircraft to accommodate bulkier storage solutions.

A render of an Airbus Zero Emission aircraft.
Image Credit: Airbus

Embracing Challenges, Seizing Opportunities

GOLIAT has now gained the keen support of key industry leaders. Representatives from Airbus, H2FLY, Chart Industries, and various European airports have all voiced their commitment to the project and its mission.

They recognize the vast potential of hydrogen in creating a sustainable aviation future, and GOLIAT’s role in paving the way for this transition.

While hydrogen offers significant advantages, it’s not without its challenges. The need for bulkier storage solutions compared to traditional jet fuel may require design changes for future aircraft.

GOLIAT serves as a crucial platform to address these challenges head-on, and ultimately integrate hydrogen technology smoothly into airport operations.


The GOLIAT project is a major step towards a more climate-friendly air transport system.

By supporting collaboration across the aviation industry, the group islaying the plans for a future powered by hydrogen.

This innovative project holds the promise of cleaner skies, reduced emissions, and a more sustainable future for air travel.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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