Rolls-Royce and easyJet test ‘world-first’ aircraft engine running on hydrogen

The ground test was conducted on an early concept demonstrator using green hydrogen created by wind and tidal power

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Rolls-Royce and easyJet have trialled an aircraft engine using hydrogen in what they claim is a world-first for the aviation industry.

The ground test was conducted on an early concept demonstrator using green hydrogen created by wind and tidal power, which the companies believe marks a “major step towards proving that hydrogen could be a zero carbon aviation fuel of the future”.

The test took place at an outdoor test facility at MoD Boscombe Down in the UK using a converted Rolls-Royce AE2100-A regional aircraft engine, with the green hydrogen supplied by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC).

The companies are planning a series of further rig tests, leading up to a full-scale ground test of a Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 jet engine, a model used to power business jets.

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The UK is leading the global shift to guilt-free flying and 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.”