Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure: Standards Action Plan

Funded by the Department for Transport, the ZEFI Standards Action Plan has been developed as an output from the ZEFI Standards Advisory Group with a shared goal of identifying the standards needed to enable zero-emission flight.

With a broad representation of 23 organisations across the aviation sector, the Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure (ZEFI) Standards Advisory Group includes global OEMs, disruptors driving zero emission flight technologies through to fuel suppliers, airports, regulators and global institutions. Convened by Connected Places Catapult and BSI, as part of their industry and technology-neutral role. The output from the group presented in this report builds on the work carried out as part of the first phase of the ZEFI programme by defining the critical standards actions needed to enable zero-emission flight infrastructure within the scope of hydrogen technologies. 

Meeting three times during a three-month period with interviews, open discussions, and facilitated workshops based on an action-oriented approach. Consensus has been gained on the key standards development pathways, including 11 immediate action areas, including a future standards governance structure to allow these actions to be taken forward. These have been broken down into actions relating to fuel handling, aircraft interface and, at the core, a need to be informed through learning from trials, supporting industry dissemination, global alignment and compatibility. Five key next steps have been defined, including: 

  1. Building on existing fuelling standards and ‘retrofitting’ them based on the identified needs for hydrogen refuelling operations in an airport environment. 
  2. Shaping the minimum expected requirements for an airport to operate with hydrogen and the minimum requirements for a diversion airport. 
  3. Phased deployment of standards with airport interface and wider infrastructure standards and regulations deployed on a phased approach based on the scale. 
    • Trialling first with smaller aircraft and airports to ensure learning can be used to adapt standards.  
    • Scale up based on learning from smaller-scale trials: The small-scale trials will shape the deployment of operational standards and regulations for mid-sized aircraft and infrastructure. 
  4. Phased out deployment of the standards and regulations based on the fuel type.  
There are many things we need to deliver to make hydrogen flight a commercial reality, and the work here by Connect Places Catapult is a vital part of that.  The industry needs to know how to use hydrogen safely on site and to have the confidence that this can be done every bit as safely as kerosene is today.
Christopher Snelling, Policy Director, Airport Operators Association - Chair of ZEFI Standards Advisory Group
Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure: Standards Action Plan
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