World 1st for Rolls-Royce and easyJet with successful hydrogen engine run

Bernie Baldwin

Profiling a ‘major step’ towards proving hydrogen could be zero-carbon aviation fuel of the future.

Rolls-Royce and easyJet have claimed a new aviation milestone with the world’s first run of a modern aero engine on hydrogen. Moreover, the hydrogen used was green hydrogen created by wind and tidal power. The ground test, conducted on an early concept demonstrator, is a huge step towards proving that hydrogen could be a zero carbon aviation fuel.

Both Rolls-Royce and easyJet aim to prove that hydrogen can safely and efficiently deliver power for civil aero engines and are already planning a second set of ground tests, with flight tests the next major goal.

The test took place at an outdoor test facility at MoD Boscombe Down, UK, using a converted Rolls-Royce AE2100A regional aircraft engine (similar to those which power Saab 2000 aircraft). 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.

Following analysis of this ground test, the partnership plans a series of further rig tests leading up to a full-scale ground test of a Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 jet engine.

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