A world-first hydrogen engine test has been completed by Rolls-Royce and EasyJet


With the help of EasyJet, Rolls-Royce has completed the world’s first-ever hydrogen-powered modern engine test.

The engineering giant and low-cost operator carried out the test at the MoD’s Boscombe Down facility in Wiltshire, using a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A turboprop aircraft engine.

The hydrogen was created using 100 percent wind and tidal power at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) on Eday in the Orkney Islands.

By investing in green initiatives such as nuclear power plants and eco-friendly fuels for aero engines, Derby-based Rolls-Royce is cleaning up its act.

It is the UK’s most prominent civil aerospace company, with around 13,000 of its engines powering aircraft around the globe. Its figures for 2019 show Rolls-Royce engines – and, to a far lesser extent, its general operations – contributed 0.6 percent of all global artificial CO2 emissions. It aims to be net zero by 2050.

Total aviation worldwide makes up around 2.6 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

The ground test was a big step towards proving that hydrogen could be used as zero-carbon aviation fuel, and Rolls-Royce is planning a second round of tests with Easyjet, with the hope that flight tests will follow in the long run.

In a statement, Rolls-Royce chief technology officer Grazia Vittadini said: “We are delighted to have achieved this milestone with the hydrogen test.”.

Only in July did we announce our partnership with EasyJet, but we are already off to a great start.

We are pushing the limits of hydrogen’s zero-carbon potential, which has the potential to reshape the future of aviation.”

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “This is a real success for our partnership team.

The hydrogen fuel cell technology offers excellent possibilities for various aircraft, including EasyJet-sized aircraft. We are committed to supporting this ground-breaking research.

“This will be a huge step in meeting the challenge of net zero by 2050.”

“This is a true British success story, with hydrogen produced today using wind and tidal power from the Orkney Islands of Scotland to power the jet engine,” said Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy. This exemplifies how we can work together to improve aviation while creating jobs.”

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Marta Lopez

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