Decommissioned Airbus A320 now part of real laboratory for hydrogen

Hydrogen Aviation Lab researching future of aviation
07 November 2022
Der umfunktionierte Airbus A320

A decommissioned Airbus A320 is to become part of the Hydrogen Aviation Lab to further research into aviation, a press release said on Friday (October 28, 2022). Lufthansa Technik, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Center for Applied Aeronautics Research (ZAL) and Hamburg Airport will use the decommissioned aircraft as a real laboratory to test maintenance and ground processes for hydrogen-powered aircraft. 

Developing hydrogen infrastructure

"Hamburg has launched a great project in the Hydrogen Aviation Lab. It will help make aviation fit for hydrogen as a fuel," said Michael Westhagemann, Senator for Economics, and termed the lab "a unique project worldwide". The Airbus will be used for maintenance and refuelling operations and to gain insight into developing a hydrogen infrastructure and decarbonising the transport sector, which are among the city's strategic goals, he noted. The collaboration ensures that both experience and requirements are incorporated into the development process, said Michael Eggenschwiler, CEO of Hamburg Airport

Research into fuelling, storage, work procedures and safety

The Lufthansa Group had operated the former "Halle an der Saale", as the Airbus was named, for over 30 years. The aircraft will be equipped with a liquid hydrogen tank and a fuel cell in the next months. The findings on handling and maintenance of the future generation of aircraft should help make hydrogen technology operational by the mid 2030s. However, fuelling, storage, work procedures and safety measures must be clarified beforehand. A digital twin of the Airbus A320 will also be used to this end. The project is backed by the Ministry of Economics and the Hamburg Investment and Development Bank (IFB Hamburg).