rolls-royce and easyjet successfully test jet engine on hydrogen

setting a new aviation milestone

Rolls Royce and easyJet have achieved another aviation milestone with the successful first run of a modern hydrogen-powered aircraft airplane engine. The ground test was performed on an early green hydrogen concept demonstrator made by wind and tidal energy, an important step in proving that hydrogen could be a carbon-free jet fuel of the future. This is also an important point of evidence in the 2050 decarbonization strategies prepared by both companies. A second test round is already in the offing, with the ambition to conduct flight tests on civil jet engines in the longer term.

The success of this hydrogen test is an exciting milestone. We only announced our partnership with easyJet in July and we’ve already kicked off this milestone in an incredible way. We’re pushing the boundaries to discover hydrogen’s carbon-free potential, which could help reshape the future of aviation,’ said Grazia Vittadini, Chief Technology Officer at Rolls-Royce.


all images courtesy of Rolls-Royce

rolls-royce x easyjet confirm the promise of hydrogen power

Operated in partnership with easyJet (see more here), the test took place in an outdoor test facility at MoD Boscombe Down, UK, with a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine. Green hydrogen was supplied by EMEC (European Marine Energy Centre), generated using renewable energy at their hydrogen production and tidal testing facility at Eday in the Orkney Islands, UK.

Following this early ground test of the concept, the partnership plans to develop its rig testing, which will lead to a full ground test of a Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 jet engine. ‘This is a real success for our partner team. We are committed to continuing to support this cutting-edge research, as hydrogen offers great potential for a range of aircraft, including easyJet-sized aircraft. This will be a huge step forward in meeting the net-zero challenge in 2050,’ shares Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet.

rolls-royce and easyjet successfully test 100% hydrogen-powered jet engine
testing on a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional jet engine

To produce hydrogen on a large scale, the team resorted to a process known as steam-methane reforming (SMR), in which natural gas is heated with steam to get a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, where a small amount of carbon monoxide is released. This chemical reaction is powered solely by clean energy (wind + tidal energy) and holds promise for accelerating carbon-free aviation technology.

The UK is leading the global shift towards guilt-free flying, and today’s test by Rolls-Royce and easyJet is an exciting demonstration of how business innovation can change the way we live. This is a true British success story, using the hydrogen to power the jet engine produced today using tidal and wind energy from Scotland’s Orkney Islands. through the whole country,’ concludes Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

rolls-royce and easyjet successfully test 100% hydrogen-powered jet engine
this project is part of the #RacetoZero campaign

rolls-royce and easyjet successfully test 100% hydrogen-powered jet engine
the partnership plans to develop its rig tests to full execution on a Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 jet engine

rolls-royce and easyjet successfully test 100% hydrogen-powered jet engine
the test took place in an outdoor testing facility at MoD Boscombe Down, UK

rolls-royce and easyjet successfully test 100% hydrogen-powered jet engine
Green hydrogen was supplied by EMEC (European Marine Energy Centre)

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