A converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine used to conduct green hydrogen fuel testing, November 2022.

Rolls Partnership Claims a Hydrogen-Fuel Breakthrough

Nov. 28, 2022
Working with commercial airline easyJet, Rolls-Royce completed a ground test using “green hydrogen fuel” to power a converted aircraft engine, in pursuit of hydrogen-combustion engine technology for civilian aircraft.

Rolls-Royce plc and low-cost airline easyJet declared they set “a new aviation milestone” with a successful ground test of a concept engine using green hydrogen fuel, produced using wind and tidal power. The test took place at an outdoor site at Boscombe Down, England (a U.K. Ministry of Defence installation), using a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine.

Last July Rolls established an R&D partnership with easyJet to develop hydrogen-combustion engine technology for aircraft, including narrow-body commercial aircraft – aiming to prove to prove that hydrogen can safely and efficiently deliver power for commercial aviation. Their H2ZERO alliance commits the partners to conduct ground tests for the new engines, working toward test flights.

Once the analysis of this concept ground test is completed, the partners plan a further series of rig tests, leading to a full-scale ground test of a Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 jet engine.

“The success of this hydrogen test is an exciting milestone,” stated Grazia Vittadini, Rolls-Royce chief technology officer. “We are pushing the boundaries to discover the zero carbon possibilities of hydrogen, which could help reshape the future of flight.”

The green hydrogen fuel was supplied by the European Marine Energy Centre, which operates a hydrogen production and tidal test facility on Eday in the Orkney Islands.

Based in London and serving more than 30 European destinations, easyJet operates an all-Airbus fleet of 324 A320 and A320neo series aircraft. It has orders in place for 162 more A320neos of different configurations.

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