Rolls-Royce and easyJet Successfully Test Hydrogen Jet Engine
Author: Hailey Kanowsky
Rolls-Royce and easyJet have set a new aviation milestone with the successful first run of a modern, hydrogen-powered aero engine. The ground test was conducted on an early concept demonstrator using green hydrogen created by wind and tidal power, marking a major step towards proving that hydrogen could be a zero-carbon aviation fuel of the future. This is also a key proof point in the 2050 decarbonization strategies set out by both companies. A second round of testing is already on the horizon, with a longer-term ambition to carry out flight tests on civil jet engines. To produce hydrogen on a large scale, the team resod to a process known as steam-methane reforming (SMR), whereby natural gas is heated with steam to have a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, with a small amount of carbon monoxide released. This chemical reaction is powered solely by clean energy (wind + tidal power) and holds great promise in 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 our lives. 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,’ concludes Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.