Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure White Paper

The Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure (ZEFI) programme, led by Connected Places Catapult in collaboration with the Department for Transport, is supporting the aviation industry to prepare airports and airfields for hydrogen-powered and battery electric aircraft. This preparation work will require input from a wide range of industries, including other zero emission transport modes, and the energy sector. In this new White Paper, Connected Places Catapult provides an overview of the technology options available, and highlights the key challenges to be solved. 

Throughout the ZEFI programme, Connected Places Catapult has been bringing together the aviation, transport and energy industries, alongside government and academia, to understand the opportunities and challenges associated with zero emission flight infrastructure. Through research, workshops, and conversations with stakeholders, we have built up an Operational Concept for how new hydrogen and electric infrastructure may be implemented at airports and airfields to provide the necessary energy for aircraft. These concepts have been laid out alongside each other, and the existing fuelling system, to highlight the similarities and differences between them. Each airport or airfield will have a subset of the technologies shown, depending on the aircraft and routes supported. 

It is important to note that new zero emission flight infrastructure will not, in most cases, replace existing fuelling systems. This is because a significant proportion of flights (particularly long-haul) will transition to Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) rather than electric or hydrogen propulsion. SAF is a ‘drop-in’ replacement for jet fuel, so minimal infrastructure or aircraft changes will be needed for its use. In fact, one of the challenges for the future will be the need for multiple fuelling and charging infrastructures to exist in parallel at airport and airfields.  

Please download the Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure White Paper

Overcoming the challenges of implementing zero emission flight infrastructure will require a continuing conversation between airports, airfields, airlines, technology providers, government, academia, and others. Connected Places Catapult is supporting this journey through the ZEFI programme, and we need your ideas and expertise to help shape the future of zero emission flight infrastructure. Please get in touch with the ZEFI team. 

If you would like to stay up to date, please sign up for updates on our project webpage