Atlanta airport, Delta to study feasibility of hydrogen fueling

Delta planes on the tarmac at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) in Atlanta, Georgia, US, on Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. (Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Leaders at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport want to assess the feasibility of hydrogen fueling.

The Atlanta airport is teaming up with Airbus, Delta Air Lines, and Plug Power for a new study looking into whether the fuel could lead to more sustainable air travel in the future.

The research will define safety and security requirements, necessary infrastructure, and operational viability to use hydrogen as a fuel source.

Experts say the change could eliminate aircraft carbon dioxide emissions.

"Hartsfield-Jackson has long been a leader in the commercial aviation industry, and it only makes sense that we help lead this effort," said ATL Senior Deputy General Manager Michael Smith. "If hydrogen proves to be a viable alternative, ATL will investigate options to update infrastructure in order to implement the new technology. We are thrilled to participate in this study and look forward to the results."

Airbus' Hydrogen Hub at Airports program has signed agreements with partners and airports in 13 countries, including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the U.S.

"The U.S. has easy and massive access to additional renewable energies to produce green hydrogen, and airports are looking for a diverse and balanced energy mix to be more resilient and help reduce the impact of aviation on the environment. Hydrogen is a key enabler for this," said Karine Guénan, Airbus’ Vice President ZEROe Ecosystem. "The journey to prepare airport infrastructure to support hydrogen and low carbon aviation begins on the ground with pre-feasibility studies like this one, working with pioneer players like Delta, Plug and the world’s busiest airport."

The study is set to finish by the end of 2026.