The world’s first successful hydrogen jet engine test flight

Rolls Royce hydrogen jet engine.

Rolls-Royce and European airline EasyJet have announced that they have successfully tested hydrogen jet engines.

Rolls-Royce said in a press release on the 29th that the ground test was “the world’s first run of a modern hydrogen-powered aircraft engine.”

Aviation is considered one of the most challenging industries because it is much more difficult to build an electric plane than an electric car.

Batteries responsible for renewable solar and wind energy are still too bulky for long-haul flights.

Therefore, airlines and aircraft manufacturers are working to develop aircraft that can run on clean fuel such as hydrogen, which produces water vapor instead of carbon dioxide when burned.

Both companies used a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine for ground tests conducted in the UK.

The European Marine Energy Center produced fuel for testing at its hydrogen production and tidal testing facility at Eday in the UK’s Orkney Islands.

It is called green hydrogen because it is made with wind and tidal energy.

Rolls-Royce and EasyJet are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and are seeking green hydrogen to help meet climate targets.

At present, however, green hydrogen is still scarce and too expensive to produce.

Some governments, including the Biden administration, have begun investing heavily to produce more.

Green hydrogen is produced from renewable energy, but most hydrogen today is still made using gas.

There are many difficulties in making hydrogen a clean fuel. When the gas is used to produce hydrogen, the process produces carbon dioxide emissions that heat the planet.

According to the International Air Transport Association, another major obstacle to hydrogen fueled flight is the introduction and certification of new aircraft designs.

In order to operate on hydrogen, the aircraft would have to be redesigned to incorporate larger fuel tanks.

For example, a Boeing 747 jumbo jet would need more than 1 million liters of hydrogen to reach the same range as 250,000 liters of jet fuel, The Guardian reported.

With these limitations in mind, green hydrogen is likely to be most useful for short-haul flights to begin with.

A 2020 European Union report estimated that hydrogen-powered aircraft with ranges of up to 3,000 km could be on the market by 2035.

Fortunately, easyJet is primarily a short-haul airline. Rolls-Royce, a leading supplier of business aviation engines, serves more than 400 airline customers.

At least two of Boeing and Airbus’ customers are exploring hydrogen as a clean aviation fuel.

And while recent ground tests may have been an initial success, there is still a lot of work to be done before hydrogen fueled flights begin.

According to a press release from Rolls-Royce, Rolls-Royce and easyJet are planning more ground tests before proceeding with their “long-term ambition” of flight testing.

/ Fortune Korea Reporter Kim Sang-do [email protected]

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