On January 31, 2018, the aircraft manufacturer Airbus announced a partnership with two airports in Japan to demonstrate the operational use of hydrogen aircraft. The project is designed to provide data that enables aviation authorities to consider adopting such technology in future operations.
The partnership began on November 1, 2017 at Kochi Airport and will end on April 1, 2019 at Narita International Airport. In total, two Airbus H-400s will be used for five months during which they will take part in over 70 test flights with 45 different stations throughout Japan.
The transport of hydrogen on a commercial scale is still in the early stages, but the government of Japan is working to encourage it.
AIRBUS H-400 – Japan’s first hydrogen aircraft program supported by Japanese Government
June 2017: Japan’s plan to provide financial support for building and operating a small jet aircraft with a range of up to 6,000 km has gained momentum. Tokyo and Yokohama are competing for the title as the city that develops and operates the first passenger aircraft fitted with hydrogen as its energy source.
June 2016: Transportation Ministry announces that the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism will provide financial support for in-house development to build and operate a small passenger jet that runs on hydrogen fuel cells.
December 2015: In its policy address, the government mentions the development of “hydrogen aircraft,” which could push investment in hydrogen technologies. The subsidy is not to be provided for Japan Airlines but rather for companies involved in developing hydrogen aircraft and fuel-cell cars.
February 2015: The Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), an agency established to promote business innovation through funding strategic research in Japan, has announced a series of projects with companies developing hydrogen as a power source for transportation.
October 2013: The government of Japan announced a plan to invest in the development of ‘green hydrogen’ technology (using hydrogen as the energy source instead of fossil fuels) with a budget of 500 million yen. Among those involved are Google and Toyota.
May 2012: The Osaka Prefecture Branch of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has announced that it will provide support for in-house development to build ‘green’ airplanes that run on hydrogen fuel cells.
Airbus began building a small aircraft with a range of 6,000 kilometres during 2010. The aircraft was intended to be powered by two hydrogen tanks, a total capacity ranging from 40 to 80 kilograms, each with an absolute pressure equal to or lower than 150 bar.