The world’s first hydrogen-powered aircraft engine was successfully tested by Rolls-Royce and EasyJet

The world’s first hydrogen-powered aircraft engine was successfully tested by Rolls-Royce and EasyJet

Aviation made its first UK debut: Rolls-Royce and EasyJet said they had carried out “the world’s first test of a modern hydrogen-powered aircraft engine”.

Credit: Rolls Royce

Rolls-Royce said it ran a jet engine on hydrogen, which is a world first for the aviation industry, which for years has been considering using this fuel to decarbonize aviation. The test was done with the famous airline EasyJet.

The test was carried out on a prototype Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine at a facility in England. The engine used what is called “green hydrogen”, a type of hydrogen created by electrolysis and electricity from renewable energy sources, including wind and tidal power.

Rolls-Royce wants to decarbonize aviation

While running a converted jet engine on hydrogen is a major development in itself, knowing where the hydrogen comes from is just as important. The latter is produced by what is known as steam methane reforming, which involves the separation of hydrogen atoms from methane. So this emits carbon dioxide, although green hydrogen is gaining ground as the world moves towards cleaner energy sources.

Although this experiment was successful, it is not expected to be able to fly hydrogen planes in the near future. The AE 2100 engine that was used in the test powers the Saab 2000 50-seat regional jet, as well as various military aircraft such as the Lockheed P-3 Orion surveillance platform and the C-130 troop carrier. For large commercial aircraft, such as the 150-seat A320, direct combustion technology should be associated with more powerful engines.

Airbus itself said a few years ago that the first ecological hydrogen planes would not fly until 2035. Rolls-Royce plans to conduct further tests on the hydrogen aircraft, including flight tests, but he did not say when the tests will be done. At the same time, we can see electric planes landing, becausethe first device with 3600 kg of batteries has completed its first flight successfully.