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Hail hydrogen! ESB and airport team up for exciting fuel project

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SHANNON Airport Group and the ESB are to team up on the development of a hydrogen fuel project that it is hoped will play a key part in decarbonising the aviation sector.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed to explore the development of what is called a “hydrogen lighthouse project”, in the area surrounding the airport.

Hydrogen procured from renewable energy is set to be key to the decarbonisation of the aviation sector – either via Liquid Hydrogen or Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

Lighthouse projects demonstrate the use of hydrogen in sectors such as heavy goods and long-distance transport, aviation, shipping and power generation. This kind of work offers a blueprint for a net zero integrated energy system in the future.

The project will have the aim of exploring the development of a sustainable green hydrogen plant at Shannon,

Speaking this week at a Hydrogen Ireland Conference in Dublin, Shannon Airport Group CEO Mary Considine said, “Innovation has always been at the heart of our business and this partnership with ESB to explore the potential for a hydrogen testbed in Shannon, aligns with our Sustainability Strategy goal to invest in smart and innovative infrastructure.”

She said that hydrogen will play a major role in the future of transport.

“Decarbonising the transport industry is vital, and hydrogen will likely play a key role in the harder to decarbonise sectors such as heavy goods transport and aviation.

“We are delighted to be working with ESB on this very important initiative and to be an enabler for the development of a hydrogen ecosystem in the Shannon Estuary region.”

The project – which is one of the first of its kind in Ireland – includes hydrogen refuelling and battery electric vehicle charging in a single location, aligning with the EU’s ambition to have a hydrogen refuelling station every 100 km along the Trans-European Transport Network by 2028. It would also offer the potential for use in the testing and development of Sustainable Aviation Fuels and for use in local industry.

Commenting on this latest hydrogen project concept for the group, Jim Dollard, Executive Director, Generation and Trading at ESB, said: “We are proud to collaborate with The Shannon Airport Group on this hydrogen lighthouse project, marking another milestone in our hydrogen exploration plans and commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2040.

“Collaborations such as this with The Shannon Airport Group are critical as we work together to identify opportunities and solutions for the use of green hydrogen in providing a pathway for the decarbonisation of heavy transport, industry, and aviation.”

Clare TD Cathal Crowe described Tuesday’s news as “a massive, massive announcement for Shannon Airport”.

He said it could put Shannon at the cutting edge of the transition to green energy in aviation.

“If all goes to plan, this would see the a sustainable green hydrogen plant explored for Shannon, to demonstrate the use of hydrogen in aviation, heavy goods transport and industry, and as a lighthouse model for the net zero integrated energy system of the future.

“Simply put, Shannon Airport and the Mid-West region would be at the very centre of moves towards a sustainable model of aviation.

“The aviation sector is at a key juncture at present, with widespread moves towards net zero carbon emissions, and for our airport here at Shannon to be leading the way in Ireland is phenomenal.”

Shannon Airport Group and the ESB will now work on concept developments as part of the Lighthouse Project including high-level design, site identification, considerations for safety, the environment and planning, and engagement, locally, with other parties interested in the development of hydrogen.

The project will also demonstrate the vast potential of the resource in the Shannon Estuary as part of ESB’s Green Atlantic @ Moneypoint project. A critical part of that plan is to develop a green hydrogen production, storage and generation facility at the Co Clare site by 2030.

Owen Ryan
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Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

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