Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A hydrogen test at Boscombe Down (Courtesy of Rolls-Royce)

Green hydrogen produced at the European Marine Energy Centre’s (EMEC’s) hydrogen production and tidal test facility has been used to fuel the ground test of a Rolls-Royce jet engine.

The ground test was conducted on an early concept demonstrator using green hydrogen created by wind and tidal power, according to Rolls-Royce, marking a major step towards proving that hydrogen could be a zero-carbon aviation fuel of the future.

The demonstration, conducted by Rolls-Royce and easyJet, took place at an outdoor test facility at Boscombe Down in UK, using a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional jet engine.

Green hydrogen for the test was supplied by EMEC, produced using renewable energy at its hydrogen production facility in Eday in Orkney, and then transported via ferry to the UK mainland in a mobile hydrogen storage trailer.

The partners said the are already planning a second set of tests, with a longer-term ambition to carry out flight tests.

In addition, following analysis of this early concept ground test, the plans have been laid out for a series of further rig tests leading up to a full-scale ground test of a Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 jet engine.

Infographic explaining green hydrogen production using renewable energy (Courtesy of Rolls-Royce/easyJet)

Grant Shapps, UK’s secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS), said: “Today’s test by Rolls-Royce and easyJet is an exciting demonstration of how business innovation can transform the way we live our lives.

“This is a true British success story, with the hydrogen being used to power the jet engine today produced using tidal and wind energy from the Orkney islands of Scotland – and is a prime example of how we can work together to make aviation cleaner while driving jobs across the country.”

Grazia Vittadini, chief technology officer at Rolls-Royce, added: “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. We are pushing the boundaries to discover the zero carbon possibilities of hydrogen, which could help reshape the future of flight.”

Commenting, Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, said: “This is a real success for our partnership team. We are committed to continuing to support this ground-breaking research because hydrogen offers great possibilities for a range of aircraft, including easyJet-sized aircraft. That will be a huge step forward in meeting the challenge of net zero by 2050.”

Neil Kermode, managing director of EMEC, concluded: “It’s exciting to see this demonstration by Rolls-Royce and easyJet using hydrogen produced from renewable energy harnessed in Orkney. Congratulations to all of the teams involved.

“The future energy mix will require multiple clean sources and our hydrogen R&D is focused on testing where hydrogen is best applied to aid the transition. It’s encouraging to collaborate with organizations that are exploring ways to move away from fossil fuels.

“With influential companies like Rolls-Royce testing technologies that use zero-carbon fuels, this should help to accelerate the decarbonization of the industry.”

The Rolls-Royce and easyJet partnership is inspired by the global, UN-backed Race to Zero campaign that both companies have signed up to, committing to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Source – by Amir Garanovic