Sens. Ossoff & Graham Introduce Bipartisan Bills to Study Hydrogen for Aviation Industry, Strengthen American Energy Security

Bipartisan legislation would help boost the study of hydrogen for aviation industry, helping improve air and noise pollution & implement new and efficient aviation operations

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, hydrogen fuel cells offer the benefit of both zero carbon & zero criteria pollutant emissions from the exhaust

Bipartisan bills backed by key aviation industry & energy research leaders, including Delta Air Lines, Georgia Tech, LanzaJet, Hyundai, Gulfstream

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff is introducing new bipartisan bills to strengthen American energy security and advance the development of hydrogen energy for the aviation industry.

Today Sens. Ossoff (D-GA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced two bipartisan bills to jumpstart public and private sector development of hydrogen for aviation and further study the use of hydrogen energy to support the aviation sector.

The bipartisan Hydrogen Aviation Development Act would make hydrogen energy expenses eligible under key Federal aviation grant programs to advance the development of hydrogen as a source of alternative fuel for the aviation industry.

The bipartisan Hydrogen Aviation Strategy Act would commission a new joint study between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Energy to establish hydrogen aviation policies and goals; study the potential benefits of hydrogen aviation; and establish a new advisory committee with NASA, aerospace industry representatives, aviation suppliers, hydrogen producers, airlines, and more to advise Federal agencies.

“Hydrogen energy is a promising opportunity to create Georgia jobs, strengthen American energy security, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in multiple sectors, including transportation,” Sen. Ossoff said. “Working with Senator Graham, I’m bringing Republicans and Democrats together to strengthen research and innovation of hydrogen as a next-generation fuel for the aviation sector.”

“With the United States at the forefront of technology development in the aviation sector, our legislation aims to empower manufacturers and agencies to consider various power solutions including hydrogen,” said Senator Graham. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to further explore advancements in hydrogen production and its integration throughout the aviation industry.”

Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA-04) introduced the House companion of the Hydrogen Aviation Strategy Act, and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01) introduced the House companion of the Hydrogen Aviation Development Act.

“Decarbonizing aviation is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry today,” said Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-04), a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Aviation subcommittee. “The journey to zero emissions in commercial air travel won’t be easy, but hydrogen could be a key player in helping us get there.”

“Hydrogen is an important tool for reducing emissions in aviation. As we work towards a greener aviation sector, we must invest in and support emerging technologies and innovation,” said Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01). “I’m excited to partner with Sens. Ossoff and Graham on this legislation that will help ensure existing aviation infrastructure and research programs are supporting the transition to hydrogen fuel sources.” 

The bipartisan bills are backed by Georgia Tech; LanzaJet; The Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Energy Association; Universal Hydrogen; Delta Air Lines; Hyundai; and ZeroAvia.

“Delta Air Lines applauds the bipartisan leadership of Senators Ossoff and Graham alongside Representatives Johnson and DelBene to encourage the study and use of hydrogen in aviation as a key pathway to decarbonizing our industry,” said Pam Fletcher, Chief Sustainability Officer of Delta Air Lines. “We look forward to continued engagement on policies that help advance clean hydrogen for propulsion, the production of sustainable aviation fuel and beyond. At Delta, we have committed to decarbonizing our business using short-, medium-, and long-term actions and view clean hydrogen as an essential technology to unlock now for the future of travel.”

“Aviation is far and away the hardest industry sector to decarbonize.  Even as we continue to develop and deploy options that can drop into our existing airlines, it behooves us to also make the longer-range investments that may ultimately enable game changing capabilities for zero carbon aviation,” said Tim Lieuwen, Executive Director of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Strategic Energy Institute and Professor in its School of Aerospace Engineering.

“We commend Senators Ossoff and Graham for introducing and co-leading the bi-partisan Hydrogen Aviation Development Act and the Hydrogen Aviation Strategy Act. The aviation sector is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and is a difficult sector to decarbonize. As a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) producer, we know that hydrogen is critical to decarbonizing the industry,” said Jimmy Samartzis, CEO of LanzaJet. “For LanzaJet, hydrogen is a key input for the production of our SAF, which allows us to achieve a lower carbon intensity fuel. This legislation not only supports the decarbonization of the aviation industry, it also supports the rural economic development opportunities created as more SAF plants come online across rural America.”

“Achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 will require a dramatic transformation of the way we produce and consume energy, including an urgent need for solutions to reduce emissions from the most difficult-to-decarbonize sectors of the economy,” said Frank Wolak, President and CEO of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association. “This includes our nation’s aviation system, which contributes roughly 8% of yearly transportation greenhouse gas emissions. Hydrogen and fuel cell technology can help us reduce our carbon footprint by being a lower-emissions alternative to the hard-to-abate industries, including aviation. The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) applauds Senator Ossoff’s legislation, the Hydrogen Aviation Strategy Act and Hydrogen Aviation Development Act, which will help reduce existing barriers to our industry’s growth across aviation transportation as well as encourage further investment and research.”

“Universal Hydrogen is grateful for Senators Ossoff and Graham’s leadership in hydrogen aviation with the introduction of this landmark legislation. Following our first-of-a-kind test flight earlier this year, Universal Hydrogen has sought to put hydrogen-powered aviation at the top of Washington’s agenda, and these bills move the Administration in the right direction,” said Jon Gordon, Co-Founder, General Counsel, and Head of Partnerships and Government Affairs of Universal Hydrogen.

“Gulfstream supports studies for use of hydrogen in helping the aviation industry meet its carbon neutral goals.  Hydrogen has great potential to both increase the production of sustainable aviation fuel production and as a direct fuel source,” said Mark Burns, President of Gulfstream.

Sen. Ossoff continues to work to strengthen American energy security by championing hydrogen energy research and investments for the State of Georgia and the Southeast.

Earlier this year, Sens. Ossoff and Graham led a bipartisan group of Southeastern U.S. Senators urging the Biden Administration to support Southeast Hydrogen Hub proposal.

This January, Sen. Ossoff and Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols also launched the Georgia Hydrogen Energy Braintrust in January to strengthen energy security and attract new economic investment to the state.

Last year, following Sen. Ossoff’s efforts to bring stakeholders together to plan a regional hydrogen hub, a coalition of energy companies, universities, and nonprofit organizationsannounced it would bid to establish hydrogen energy infrastructure across Georgia and the Southeast through the bipartisan infrastructure law.

Click here to read the bipartisan Hydrogen Aviation Strategy Act

Click here to read the bipartisan Hydrogen Aviation Development Act.


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