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Rolls-Royce and easyJet Test Super-Green Aircraft Engine Running on Hydrogen

The Rolls-Royce and easyJet partnership was announced earlier this year with plans of developing hydrogen combustion engine technology powerful enough for a range of aircraft.

And today, the Rolls-Royce and easyJET partnership has set a new ground-breaking aviation milestone by successfully testing a hydrogen-fueled jet engine

In a major step toward a future with net-zero-carbon aviation, Rolls-Royce and easyJet, a low-cost European point-to-point airline, are partnering to create the world’s first modern aero hydrogen engine.

A ground test has already been conducted on an early concept demonstrator engine using green hydrogen created by wind and tidal power. 

Rolls-Royce and easyJet partnership
The Rolls-Royce and easyJet: The Future of Aviation.

It’s a major move toward proving that hydrogen can be the zero carbon aviation fuel of the future.

And it’s a move that shows off the decarbonization strategies of both Rolls-Royce and easyJet.

Both companies are setting out to prove that hydrogen can safely and efficiently deliver power for civil aero engines. Together, they are already planning a second set of tests, with a longer-term stated goal to carry out flight tests.

The first test took place at an outdoor test facility at MoD Boscombe Down, UK, using a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine.

Green hydrogen for the tests was supplied by EMEC (European Marine Energy Centre), generated using renewable energy at their hydrogen production and tidal test facility on Eday in the Orkney Islands, UK.

Rolls-Royce and easyJet partnership
The Rolls-Royce and easyJet Partnership Have Set A New Aviation Milestone.

“The UK is leading the global shift to guilt-free flying, and (the) test by Rolls-Royce and easyJet is an exciting demonstration of how business innovation can transform the way we live our lives,” said British Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, Grant Shapps.

“This is a true British success story, with the hydrogen being used to power the jet engine today produced using tidal and wind energy from the Orkney Islands of Scotland – and is a prime example of how we can work together to make aviation cleaner while driving jobs across the country.”

Check out: The Rolls-Royce Ghost Turns 114 – and Just Keeps Getting Better With Age!

Grazia Vittadini, Chief Technology Officer, Rolls-Royce, added that the success of this hydrogen test is a major milestone. 

Rolls-Royce Is Pushing Boundaries To Discover The Zero Carbon Possibilities of Hydrogen.

“We are pushing the boundaries to discover the zero carbon possibilities of hydrogen, which could help reshape the future of flight.”

Once an analysis of this early concept ground test is completed, the Rolls-Royce and easyJet partnership plans a series of further rig tests building toward a full-scale ground test of a Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 jet engine.

The partnership is inspired by the global, UN-backed Race to Zero campaign that both companies are participating in that is committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. This project is thought to be the world’s first for the aviation industry, which is considering using the fuel to decarbonize air travel in the future.

The test at the British military facility in Wiltshire used a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine that is generally used to power turboprop planes. Turboprop engines are used to drive a propeller on slower-speed short-haul flights, rather than driving the fan required for faster speeds in jet engines. Building and maintaining jet engines is Rolls-Royce’s main business line.

Rolls-Royce and easyJet aviation
The Aviation Industry As We Know It Could Change Forever.

Aviation faces one of the sternest tests of any industry to decarbonize as the world seeks to move to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 in order to prevent catastrophic global heating of more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. 

Alternative power sources already exist for most forms of transport, but the energy density requirements for planes have ruled out current battery technology for all but the shortest journeys.

The aero industry is now looking to hydrogen – which produces only water when it burns – as a possible energy source for some flights.

Green hydrogen for the Rolls-Royce tests was supplied by the European Marine Energy Centre, generated using renewable energy at the center’s hydrogen production and tidal test facility on Eday in the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland.

According to the Our World in Data website, aviation accounts for 2.5% of global CO2 emissions.

changing the aviation world
Rolls-Royce and easyJet.

Aviation emissions have doubled since the mid-1980s, according to the website. “But, they’ve been growing at a similar rate as total CO2 emissions – this means its share of global emissions has been relatively stable: in the range of 2% to 2.5%.”

However, non-CO2 climate impacts mean aviation accounts for 3.5% of global warming, according to the site.

This is due to the fact that air travel not only emits CO2; it affects the climate in a number of more complex ways.

Along with emitting CO2 from burning fuel, planes affect the concentration of other gases and pollutants in the atmosphere. 

“They result in a short-term increase, but long-term decrease in ozone (O3); a decrease in methane (CH4); emissions of water vapor; soot; sulfur aerosols; and water contrails. While some of these impacts result in warming, others induce a cooling effect. Overall, the warming effect is stronger,” the website noted.

Loving what the Rolls-Royce and easyJet partnership is bringing to the world? Join the cause by shopping the latest inventory at our Rolls-Royce dealerships.

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