Finavia joined Hydrogen Cluster Finland and is preparing for hydrogen use at the airport

The business-led national hydrogen cluster was established to promote the Finnish hydrogen economy.

Finavia is committed to promoting the development of sustainable air traffic in Finland and joined Hydrogen Cluster Finland in January 2024. Finavia also participates in an international EU project, part of Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme, where the company will be the first in Europe to pilot the use of hydrogen in maintenance equipment. The pilot will take place at Helsinki Airport.

“In the future, hydrogen will be a potential energy source for airport equipment and in aviation. We are preparing for the use of hydrogen and the infrastructure needed for it, both in terms of our own equipment and the needs of airlines and companies operating at the airport,” says Henri Hansson, Finavia’s Senior Vice President responsible for sustainability, technology, safety and security.

The business-led national hydrogen cluster was established to promote the Finnish hydrogen economy. Finavia joined Hydrogen Cluster Finland in January 2024 with the aim of connecting Finavia’s airports and air traffic to the Finnish hydrogen ecosystem.

“Replacing aviation kerosene with a fossil-free alternative, i.e. fuel made from renewable raw materials as well as electricity and hydrogen, plays a key role in reducing the emissions from air traffic. As a Finnish airport company, we want to be among the leading European companies in innovating the applications of new motive powers.”

Helsinki Airport is piloting hydrogen as a motive power for heavy equipment

At Helsinki Airport, Finavia is the first in Europe to pilot the use of hydrogen as a motive power for heavy maintenance equipment. The pilot experiment is part of the international Baltic Sea Region HyAirport project.

Hydrogen handling provides valuable experience for future aviation needs. The three-year hydrogen project has been granted EUR 4 million in EU funding.

“Hydrogen-powered equipment and, in the future, hydrogen-powered aircraft will lead to new requirements for airports. Our experience in the supply, storage and distribution of hydrogen provides us with valuable information for the development of airport operations and infrastructure,” says Mikko Viinikainen, Finavia’s Senior Manager, Sustainability and Environment.

In the Baltic Sea Region HyAirport project, Finavia will replace one of the engines of a Finnish-made sweeper blower with a piston engine that burns gaseous hydrogen.

“Finavia has about 20 heavy snow removal machines at Helsinki Airport alone that could, in the future, use hydrogen fuel for motive power.”

Finavia believes that, in the future, several low-emission technologies will be used simultaneously at airports.

“Finavia’s maintenance equipment already uses renewable fuels extensively. In the future, small and medium-sized equipment will be electrified and hydrogen-powered solutions will be developed for the heaviest machines. These solutions are now being piloted in the project that has just started,” Viinikainen says.

However, the change will not happen overnight. In aviation, development work and the safe introduction of new solutions take time.

“Promoting sustainable air traffic is a common goal for the entire industry, and we strongly believe that hydrogen is one of the future solutions,” SVP Henri Hansson says.

Finavia is a leader in sustainable development in the aviation industry. In 2025, Finavia will achieve net zero carbon emissions from its own operations at 20 airports in Finland.

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