Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Airbus, Delta and Plug Power are studying the feasibility of hydrogen fuelling

The study will help define the infrastructure, operational viability, and safety and security requirements needed to implement hydrogen as a fuel source for future aircraft operations at ATL. It will also contribute to the understanding of supply and infrastructure requirements for hydrogen hubs at airports worldwide, the partners said.

The use of hydrogen to power future aircraft models could ultimately eliminate aircraft carbon dioxide emissions while also decarbonising air transport activities on the ground – a top priority for the partners as they work toward the decarbonisation of the aviation industry.

While the Atlanta-based study preliminarily launched earlier this year, it is one of three that Airbus announced with partners on May 21. The study in Atlanta is scheduled for completion at the end of 2026.

“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.”

As part of the study, ATL is providing its current layout and organisation plan and will share updates on future developments.

Airbus launched the Hydrogen Hub at Airports programme to jumpstart research into infrastructure requirements and low-carbon airport operations across the entire value chain. To date, agreements have been signed 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 United States.   

“The US 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 Power and ATL, the world’s busiest airport.”

Plug Power is a provider of equipment and turnkey solutions for the global green hydrogen economy. The company is building an end-to-end green hydrogen ecosystem including the manufacture of electrolysers, fuel cells and hydrogen facilities across the United States to decarbonise a variety of industrial, transportation and energy needs and applications worldwide.     

An Airbus ZEROe flying over ATL
An Airbus ZEROe flying over ATL Airbus