2023 – the year of net zero infrastructure

By Dirk Singer / January 20, 2023

Our new Sustainable Aviation 2023 Trends report looks at how and why the battle for climate action is expected to grow more heated this year and what visionary executives can do to stay ahead. Download the full report here.

This year, expect to see developments in airport infrastructure as planning for next-generation aircraft and decarbonisation of ground operations increase.

Transitioning to net zero aviation means a new airport infrastructure will be required. While that was already being developed in 2022, the establishment of this will accelerate in 2023.

With both Airbus and Rolls Royce betting on hydrogen combustion aircraft, airports are preparing for it.

For example, New Zealand’s airports could become a hydrogen cluster, while Christchurch Airport in New Zealand and Hamburg Airport in Germany are cooperating on green hydrogen development.

Not only that – electric aircraft will require EV charging facilities.

Instead of drawing on the electricity grid, some airports are creating their own energy sources.

Edmonton Airport (YEG) in Canada is establishing a 627-acre, 120-megawatt solar farm. When completed, Airport City Solar is slated to be the largest airport solar farm in the world.

Electric aviation is a particular opportunity for smaller players. This is why we expect to see more regional airports start creating their own microgrids with the help of organisations such as Clear Skies.

The final and possibly most immediate piece of the airport infrastructure puzzle will be the ongoing decarbonisation of airport operations in 2023.

For example, United Airlines has already invested in sodium-ion battery maker Natron as a way of electrifying ground equipment and providing charging capacity for electric aircraft.

Similar to the Natron / United deal, we expect to see more of these strategic investments taking place in 2023.

More aviation-specific sustainability updates and analysis can be found in our weekly Sustainability In The Air newsletter, led by SimpliFlying’s Research Director Dirk Singer. Do subscribe to our send-out to stay on top of the latest trends.

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