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Rolls-Royce, EasyJet to test hydrogen combustion engine airplanes

Airplanes with hydrogen combustion engine are coming

Rolls-Royce and EasyJet are testing hydrogen combustion engine tech for airplanes with plans to commercialise it as soon as possible. Of course, they are still many years from hitting the market.

The tests would be ground-based for now, Rolls-Royce said in a statement. However, the goal is to prove that hydrogen can be the next big thing in the transportation revolution. 

The project is being called H2ZERO, likely a combination of hydrogen’s formula and the Carbon emission quantity from using the element as fuel.

The Rolls-Royce mentioned here is not the car company owned by BMW, but rather a company that claims to ‘[pioneer] cutting-edge technologies that deliver clean, safe & competitive solutions to meet our planet’s vital power needs].

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After the test, there are plans for an above-ground follow-up one using a Pearl 15 jet engine. 

“The technology that emerges from this programme has the potential to power easyJet-size aircraft, which is why we will also be making a multi-million pound investment into this programme,” EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said“In order to achieve decarbonisation at scale, progress on the development of zero-emission technology for narrowbody aircraft is crucial.”

The tech behind hydrogen combustion engines differs from that used in hydrogen fuel cells, which is already gaining popularity in the trucking industry. One significant difference is that hydrogen fuel cells emit water vapor and warm air as end products, while hydrogen combustion engines still contain a trace amount of CO2 in their emissions (although it is regarded as near zero) and NOx.

Aviation remains one of the largest carbon-emitting activities, and it currently has no alternative, unlike road transport which has electric car options. The Rolls-Royce and EasyJet collaboration aim to provide a scalable opportunity by the mid-2030s.

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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.