In fight against climate change, will hydrogen replace jet fuel in aircrafts?

The test took place at an outdoor test facility at a British military air base, using a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine. 

easyJet (photo credit: Courtesy)
easyJet
(photo credit: Courtesy)

In the fight against climate change, Rolls-Royce and easyJet have found a way to successfully test-run hydrogen as an alternative to jet fuel.

The test took place at an outdoor test facility at a British military air base, using a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine.

"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," Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Grant Shapps said in the statement. "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 clear while driving jobs across the country."

"We started a few years ago looking at what might power the aircraft of the future,"

easyJet's chief operation officer, David Morgan

With hydrogen as a discussion and testing point, it could play a major role in a better and greener future in the aviation world.

EasyJet Airbus (credit: Courtesy)EasyJet Airbus (credit: Courtesy)

The green hydrogen that was produced and supplied by European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) generated renewable energy at their hydrogen production and tidal test facility, according to the Rolls Royce statement.

"We started a few years ago looking at what might power the aircraft of the future," easyJet's chief operation officer, David Morgan, told BBC. "We looked at battery technology and it was quite clear that the battery technology was probably not going to do it for the large commercial aircraft that we fly. We've come to the conclusion that hydrogen is a very exciting proposition for us."

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

What is the next step for their partnership?

Because of their success, the partnership is planning to continue their testing to reach the goal of a full-scale ground test of a Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 jet engine.

"This is a real success for our partnership team," CEO of easyJet Johan Lundgren said in a statement. "We are committed to continuing to support this ground-breaking research because hydrogen offers great possibilities for a range of aircraft, including easyJet-sized aircraft. That will be a huge step forward in meeting the challenge of net zero by 2050."