World’s first test run of a hydrogen jet engine successful

Rolls-Royce and European airline easyJet announced they have successfully tested a hydrogen jet engine – a technology the companies hope could eventually help eliminate aviation’s greenhouse gas emissions. The ground test marks “the world’s first run of a modern hydrogen aircraft engine,” Rolls-Royce said in a press release yesterday.

Aviation is considered to be one of the most difficult industries to clean, as it is much more difficult to produce electric airplanes than electric vehicles. Batteries charged with renewable solar and wind energy are still too bulky for long flights. So airlines and plane manufacturers are working to develop planes that can go further cleaner fuels such as hydrogen, which when burned produces water vapor instead of carbon dioxide.

Aviation is considered to be one of the most difficult industries to clean up

For the UK ground test, the two companies used a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine. The European Marine Energy Center produced the fuel for the test at a hydrogen production and tidal test facility at Eday in the British Isles of Orkney. Since the hydrogen was produced using wind and tidal power, it is called green hydrogen.

Both Rolls-Royce and easyJet have committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and are embracing green hydrogen to help them meet climate targets. But for now, green hydrogen is still in short supply and prohibitively expensive to produce. Some governments, including the Biden administration, have started investing heavily in producing more of these.

While Green hydrogen is made with renewable energy, most hydrogen today is still made from gas. That’s the tricky part about pouring hydrogen as a clean fuel — it’s really only as clean as the energy source used to create it. When gas is used to produce hydrogen, the process releases carbon dioxide emissions that warm the planet.

Another big hurdle for hydrogen-powered flights will consist of introducing and certifying new aircraft designs, according to the International Air Transport Association. To run on hydrogen, aircraft must be redesigned to accommodate larger fuel tanks. For example, a Boeing 747 jumbo jet would need more than 1 million liters of hydrogen to achieve roughly the same range as 250,000 liters of kerosene. The guard reports.

Given these limitations, it looks like green hydrogen will initially be most useful for short flights. A 2020 European Union report estimates that hydrogen-powered passenger aircraft for routes of up to 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) could come to market by 2035. Luckily for easyJet, it is primarily a short-haul airline. Rolls-Royce, a leading engine supplier for business aviation, counts more than 400 airlines among its customers. At least two other of these customers – Boeing and Airbus – are also researching hydrogen as a clean aviation fuel.

And while the recent ground test may have been an early success, there’s still work to be done before a hydrogen-powered flight takes off. Rolls Royce and easyJet According to Rolls-Royce’s press release, it is planning further ground tests before moving to a “longer-term goal” of conducting flight tests.

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