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Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking

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Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking

At the March 2023  Clean Aviation Annual Forumthe Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking (Clean Aviation JU) and the Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (Clean Hydrogen JU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a strategic cooperation on research and innovation in hydrogen-powered aviation.  

The Memorandum’s objective is to maximise synergies, strengthen cooperation and align the activities of the two Joint Undertakings.

This collaboration is based on the exchange of information concerning grants in the field of hydrogen-technologies for aviation, as well as planning and alignment of the respective Work Programmes and calls for proposals.

Axel Krein, Executive Director of the Clean Aviation JU, said: “Green hydrogen shows real potential to power aviation. As energy source, it will eliminate CO2 emissions completely thus being a game changer to achieve climate-neutral aviation by 2050. In this context, we will develop and demonstrate aircraft-related hydrogen technologies and also assess the climate impact of the related non-CO2 emissions. I look forward to working even more closely with Clean Hydrogen to better support the hydrogen-aviation ecosystem to develop technologies for hydrogen-powered commercial aviation compatible with an entry into service by 2035.”

Bart Biebuyck, Executive Director of the Clean Hydrogen JU, said: “Together with Clean Aviation, we work towards the decarbonisation goals set by the EU Green Deal, REPowerEU and the EU’s Industrial Strategy, and we’re contributing to an ambitious research and innovation agenda for a cleaner and more sustainable transport sector. This MoU sets the basis for a more structured cooperation that would allow not only the sharing of best practices but also establishing deeper synergies between the two JUs in support of a hydrogen-driven aviation ecosystem.”

This is not the first collaboration between the two Joint Undertakings. A joint study launched in 2020 predicted that short-range hydrogen-powered aircraft could enter into service by 2035. The study’s results proved key to the aligning of the JUs respective work programmes and related call topics on hydrogen powered aviation. Download the joint study “Hydrogen-powered aviation A fact-based study of hydrogen technology, economics, and climate impact by 2050” on the Clean Hydrogen JU website  and Clean Aviation JU website.


Memorandum of Understanding Signed


(317.18 KB – PDF)


Background information

Significant progress towards the use of hydrogen to power aircraft is being achieved in a series of projects supported by the Clean Hydrogen JU and its predecessor, the FCH2 JU. The HEAVENproject is integrating a modular high-power fuel cell system for propulsion of an aircraft, in combination with an innovative cryogenic (liquid) hydrogen storage system. HYCARUS developed a flight-ready fuel-cell based auxiliary power unit system, including a high-pressure hydrogen tank, adequate for pressurised passenger aircrafts, while FLHySAFE is developing an emergency power unit for flight controls, linked hydraulics and flight-critical instrumentation in case of emergency.

In parallel, Clean Aviation, a founding member of the Alliance for Zero Emission AviationEN•••(AZEA), has taken concrete steps to accelerate the development of hydrogen technologies in view of decarbonising aviation. Six of Clean Aviation’s daring Call 1 projects are targeting technology maturation and demonstration to support short-range aircraft concepts adopting hydrogen as a power source for new aircraft with an entry into service as soon as 2035. As safety remains paramount the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) with whom Clean Aviation signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in 2022, is involved in supporting the definition and implementation of all hydrogen projects.

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