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Airbus strikes deal with Australia’s Fortescue as airlines seek hydrogen boost

Randy Mancini 6 Mar 7
FILE PHOTO: Airbus site in Toulouse
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Airbus is seen on a building in Toulouse, France, March 11, 2021. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

March 8, 2022

PARIS (Reuters) – European planemaker Airbus chose the Australian miner Fortescue Metals Group Ltd’s hydrogen unit to help it reduce CO2 emissions from flying, Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) said in a statement on Tuesday.

The move, marked by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, reflected the companies’ “shared ambition … to support the entry-into-service of a hydrogen-based aircraft by 2035,” according to the news release.

FFI’s chairman, Australian magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, has built most of his wealth in the highly emitting iron ore mining sector, but recently became one of business world’s most outspoken advocates for fighting climate change.

“The time is now for a green revolution in the aviation industry,” he was cited as saying.

The partnership will allow both companies to study the application of green hydrogen – hydrogen produced from using renewable energy – in the aviation industry, seen by analysts as the sector’s most promising bet to reduce emissions while keeping flight numbers high.

Financial details were not immediately available.

(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel in Paris)