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Important role for hydrogen in European push for sustainable aviation

The European Commission has awarded €25 million in funding to a consortium with 29 airports, airlines, knowledge institutes and industrial partners called TULIPS, led by Royal Schiphol Group. The funding is part of the European Green Deal, to develop innovations that facilitate the transition to low-carbon mobility and enhance sustainability at airports. One of the planned projects is the development of a HGPU (Hydrogen Ground Power Unit) by

The consortium aims to speed up the rollout of sustainable technologies in aviation and significantly contribute towards the zero emissions and zero waste airports by 2030 and climate-neutral aviation by 2050. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol will be the proving ground for 17 demonstrator projects that result from the collaboration. One of these projects will be the development and demonstration of a hydrogen-powered ground power unit. The TULIPS project will kick off in January 2022 and last until December 2025.

HGPU to decrease groundside emissions

A GPU is used to provide electric power to an aircraft when it is stationary on the ground. In the HGPU that will be developed by, the conventional diesel engine in the GPU will be replaced with a hydrogen powertrain. Diesel-GPU’s are currently responsible for more than a third of  the total diesel consumption of ground support equipment on airfields. The proposed zero emission hydrogen powered HGPU is therefore a very promising candidate to significantly reduce emissions of airport ground operations.

Accelerating sustainability

The HGPU and several other innovations aimed at increasing sustainability will be demonstrated at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, while partner airports Oslo, Turin and Larnaka will also implement a selection of these innovations. 

Collaborating at four very different airports, with the input from the broad coalition of partners will allow the impact of the solutions on the European climate targets to become apparent. Successful demonstration of specific actions to accelerate sustainability in different scenarios will showcase these innovations and how they can be implemented throughout Europe. The outcomes of the project are expected to contribute significantly to the decarbonisation of the aviation sector. The relevant knowledge gained will be shared publicly with the aviation industry and other European airports, which will allow them to apply the TULIPS concepts and technologies through practical roadmaps.


The TULIPS consortium is a partnership between Royal Schiphol Group and Oslo Airport, SINTEF AS, SINTEF Energi AS, Hermes Airports, Catalink Ltd, Torino Airport, Politecnico di Torino, Beta-I, Egis S.A., Excess Materials Exchange, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, KLM Equipment Services, Manchester Metropolitan University, Mobility Concept, Royal NLR  Netherlands Aerospace Centre, Nouryon Industrial Chemicals, Pipistrel Vertical Solutions, Port of Amsterdam, SKYNRG, TNO, TU Delft, Instituto Superior Téchnico, University of Antwerp, BAM Infraconsult, Ballard Power Systems Europe, DHL Global Forwarding Netherlands and

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101036996. 

The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of TULIPS and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union.