rolls-royce and easyjet successfully test hydrogen-powered jet engines

set a new milestone in aviation

Rolls-Royces and easyJet have set a new milestone in aviation with the successful first run of a modern, hydrogen-powered aircraft aircraft engine. Ground testing was performed on an early concept demonstrator using green hydrogen created by wind and tidal power, which is an important step in proving that hydrogen could be a carbon-free aviation fuel of the future. This is also an important point of evidence in 2050 decarbonization strategies determined by both companies. A second round of testing is already on the horizon, with the longer-term goal of conducting flight tests on commercial jet engines.

The success of this hydrogen test is an exciting milestone. We only announced our partnership with easyJet in July and are already off to an incredible start with this groundbreaking achievement. We’re pushing the envelope to discover the zero-carbon possibilities of hydrogen, which could help reshape the future of flight,’ comments Grazia Vittadini, Chief Technology Officer at Rolls-Royce.


all images courtesy of Rolls-Royce

rolls-royce x easyjet confirm the promise of hydrogen propulsion

Carried out jointly with easyJet (see more here) the test took place in an outdoor test facility at MoD Boscombe Down, UK, with a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A Engine for regional aircraft. Green hydrogen was supplied by EMC (European Marine Energy Centre) using renewable energy at their hydrogen production and tidal test facility at Eday in the Orkney Islands, UK.

Following this early concept ground test, the partnership plans to further develop their rig tests leading to a full scale ground test of a Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 jet engine. ‘This is a real achievement for our partner team. We are committed to continuing to support this groundbreaking research, as hydrogen offers great opportunities for a range of aircraft, including easyJet-sized aircraft. This will be a big step forward in meeting the challenge of net zero by 2050,’ shares easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren.

rolls-royce and easyjet successfully test 100% hydrogen-powered jet engines
Testing on a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine

To produce hydrogen on a large scale, the team used a process known as steam methane reforming (SMR), in which natural gas is heated with steam to produce a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, releasing a small amount of carbon monoxide . This chemical reaction is powered solely by clean energy (wind and tidal power) and holds promise for accelerating zero-carbon aviation technology.

The UK is leading the global shift to guilt-free flying and today’s test by Rolls-Royce and easyJet is an exciting demonstration of how business innovation can transform the way we live. This is a true British success story, using the hydrogen to power the jet engine now being produced using tidal and wind energy from Scotland’s Orkney Islands – and a prime example of how we can work together to make aviation cleaner while we drive jobs across the country,’ concludes Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

rolls-royce and easyjet successfully test 100% hydrogen-powered jet engines
This project is part of a #RacetoZero campaign

rolls-royce and easyjet successfully test 100% hydrogen-powered jet engines
The partnership plans to develop their rig tests into a full-scale run on a Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 jet engine

rolls-royce and easyjet successfully test 100% hydrogen-powered jet engines
The test took place at an outdoor test facility at MoD Boscombe Down, UK

rolls-royce and easyjet successfully test 100% hydrogen-powered jet engines
Green hydrogen was supplied by EMEC (European Marine Energy Centre).

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