Manchester Airport has announced plans to be the first in the UK with direct access to a hydrogen fuel pipeline. 

The company today has signed a memorandum of understanding with two of the founding partners of Hynet, with whom the company has just confirmed a partnership with. The founding partners are Progressive Energy and gas distribution network Cadent, who will build and operate HyNet’s hydrogen pipeline network. 

Hydrogen is hoped to be delivered to the aviation sector at the earliest opportunity. This will be done through the connection of Manchester Airport to a pipeline being built by HyNet. 

Chris Woodroofe, managing director at 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 Northwest, 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.” 

The announcement has been supported by Aviation Minister Baroness Vere and Energy and Climate Change Minister Graham Stuart as well as the Hydrogen Alliance.  

Aviation Minister Baroness Vere said: “Hydrogen offers great potential to decarbonise flying, but we need the right infrastructure at our airports to help harness that opportunity. We are funding the multi-million-pound Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure project, which has already published important findings, and it’s great to see industry now pushing ahead in this area to make zero emission flight a reality.” 

The airport has said that HyNet brings together the technology and infrastructure needed to produce low carbon hydrogen to power aircraft of the future. As a result of the joint venture, the two companies will now work together to assess the future demand for hydrogen for aviation and explore the ability to connect Manchester Airport to HyNet’s regional network. 

Manchester Airport has said that it has a target to make its own operations net zero carbon by 2038, 12 years ahead of the UK national target and two years ahead of the target set for UK airports by the Government. 

An event was held on Monday to mark the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding was attended by 30 leading figures from the industry.