The urgency to reverse climate impact is enormous. We need to accelerate. The Dutch aviation sector has submitted a joint proposal to appeal to the National Growth Fund. With the ‘Aviation in Transition’ proposal, the sector focuses on research and development geared towards climate neutral aviation. Below, we would like to point out one of the main topics in the proposal: flying on hydrogen.

Aviation is facing an enormous challenge to become climate neutral by 2050. Royal Schiphol Group, Royal NLR, SkyNRG and TU Delft are joining forces to make the Netherlands a front runner in sustainability. We are well-positioned to make aviation smarter, cleaner and quieter. This way, we are able to tackle the negative effects of flying at an accelerated pace and create earning capacity for the Netherlands. We are, for example, focusing on hydrogen-powered flights and the development of sustainable aviation fuels.  How we do this, we have elaborated in Aviation in Transition. With support from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, we have submitted an application for a financial contribution from the National Growth Fund.

On this website, we will be highlighting different topics from ‘Aviation in Transition‘. For example, what progress did we make last year to be able to fly our HYDRA-2 drone on liquid hydrogen?

Knowledge development in Aviation in Transition

With the National Growth Fund, the government is investing in projects that will ensure long-term economic growth. New and promising research will continue to feed the innovation infrastructure. On behalf of the aviation sector, the ‘Aviation in Transition’ programme is setting up an open innovation think tank within the ‘knowledge development’ area. From this a broad vision for an ecosystem and roadmap will be developed for research and development of innovations for climate neutral aviation. The first supporting research programmes to be set up will result in technology and knowledge for future developments, with which the Dutch aviation sector will position itself firmly in the international playing field.

The larger objective is twofold:

  1. To draw up an overarching and guiding vision, together with an industrial partner – an aircraft manufacturer/OEM – which will give research more focus and enable the Dutch aviation sector to connect better with international developments and with the end users of the technology.
  2. By developing and demonstrating pioneering innovations/technologies, entice market parties to invest in further developments of these new sustainable solutions.

Thanks to the ecosystem proposal ‘Aviation in Transition’, the Dutch aviation sector will not only be ready for the national and international obligations that will be imposed on it, but will also convert these obligations into an opportunity to make full use of this emerging market. Moreover, innovations that make aviation more sustainable will enable Dutch airports to further improve the quality of the working, living and everyday environment at and around airports, by increasing the benefits (employment, regional earning capacity) and reducing the burdens (noise pollution, air pollution). Dutch knowledge institutions provide an even stronger proposition to attract companies and capital. This in turn contributes to innovation and new business activity. Thus, sustainability and earning power go hand in hand in this proposal.

National Growth Fund

The National Growth Fund is an initiative of the Ministries of Economic Affairs and Climate Change and of Finance. They jointly manage the fund on behalf of the government. An independent committee has been set up that assesses the projects and gives advice. The government decides whether or not to allocate money to projects. With the National Growth Fund, the government allocates €20 billion to projects for the next 5 years. It concerns targeted investments in three areas with the greatest potential for structural and sustainable economic growth. The three areas where the government sees the most opportunities for structural and sustainable economic growth are:

  • Knowledge development
  • Research, development and innovation
  • Infrastructure

“In order to make aviation more sustainable, we as travellers must become more aware of our travel behaviour. But obviously, more is needed to meet the global climate challenge. We need to innovate. The energy transition in aviation calls for evolution and revolution. This includes relatively simple but promising solutions as well as complex game-changers. As a knowledge institute, NLR plays a crucial role in outlining the possibilities of fundamental research so that market parties do not run too much risk in the process of arriving at concrete solutions. Collaboration is crucial to turn this interdependence and cohesion into a strength. ‘Aviation in Transition’ therefore unites the entire Dutch aviation sector. It is time for impact and unity, and the National Growth Fund is the right tool for this.”

– Sandrine Suter, marketing manager national government programmes