Rolls-Royce claims it has conducted the “world’s first run” of a regional aircraft engine powered with hydrogen.
The converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine was tested at an outdoor facility at MoD Boscombe Down, in the United Kingdom, the manufacturer announced in a statement on November 28, 2022. The demonstrator engine ran on green hydrogen which was produced by both wind and tidal power.
The London Luton Airport (LTN)-based low-cost carrier easyJet also contributed to the testing process.
“[The test, ed.-] marks a major step towards proving that hydrogen could be a zero-carbon aviation fuel of the future and is a key proof point in the decarbonization strategies of both Rolls-Royce and easyJet,” Rolls-Royce said in its statement.
“The success of this hydrogen test is an exciting milestone. We only announced our partnership with easyJet in July and we are already off to an incredible start with this landmark achievement,” the manufacturer’s chief technology officer Grazia Vittadini said.
Rolls-Royce and easyJet announced their partnership in July 2022. At the time, the parties agreed to collaborate on the development of the hydrogen combustion technology project H2ZERO. The program, which is sponsored by easyJet, is dedicated to demonstrating that green hydrogen can be safely and efficiently used to power commercial planes while aiming to meet the international target of reaching net zero by 2050.
The parties are currently planning to launch the second engine testing phase. According to Rolls-Royce, the estimated series of further rig tests will lead up to “a full-scale” ground test of the manufacturer’s Pearl 15 turbofan jet engine.