AECOM and HAV working on infrastructure for zero carbon aviation

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Infrastructure consultant AECOM is partnering with Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) to provide infrastructure services for Airlander, HAV’s hybrid aircraft.

HAV's Airlander takes flight (Image: HAV)

The partnership sees AECOM and Hybrid Air Vehicles sign a memorandum of understanding which sets out the basis and scope of a long-term infrastructure partnership. AECOM will provide end-to-end infrastructure partner services to facilitate the operation of the hybrid aircraft.

Airlander is described as hybrid because it derives lift from a combination of aerodynamic lift, lifting gases, and vectored thrust.

Toby Uppington, director, Energy, AECOM told The Engineer that the Airlander will deliver 90 per cent fewer emissions than other aircraft when it enters service in 2026 and will run entirely on hydrogen by 2030 through fuel cell technology.

“As HAV decarbonise their power train, AECOM will work with them to develop the infrastructure required to operate the system – and to support the operating requirements of their customers,” he said. “At present there is no firm commitment made to the nature of the hydrogen to be used, but in line with the positioning of the platform the intention would likely be linked to a low/zero carbon source.”

Bedford-based HAV and AECOM will work with HAV’s customers to develop the infrastructure to operate Airlander, including preparing for hydrogen on site for the hybrid-electric and all-electric Airlander 10 aircraft.

“The decisions around volumes and considerations of storage versus on site production will be developed to meet the operating requirements of individual customers operating Airlander fleets,” said Uppington.

He continued: “One of the advantages of the Airlander platform is the opportunity it affords to rethink the operating infrastructure of the aviation industry -on a much lighter touch basis - and so challenges include not preconditioning our offer and the expectations of stakeholders to that of a traditional airplane/airport.”

In addition, AECOM will work with HAV to develop the Airlander 10 manufacturing facility. Additional joint work on the larger Airlander 50 and other projects is expected.