The test, on the ground, was carried out in a demonstrator still in the prototype stage. For Rolls-Royce, as for easyJet, it is about demonstrating that hydrogen can be a reliable and emission-free alternative for the future of civil aviation. This challenge is part of the United Nations-backed “Race to Zero” campaign, which aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
A first converted test took place at an outdoor test facility at the Ministry of Defense at Boscombe Down, a Royal Air Force base in the UK. This test involved a specially converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A aircraft engine. The green hydrogen used for the tests was provided by the European Marine Energy Center (EMEC). It was generated by wind and tidal energy. This British alliance aims to carry out flight tests as soon as possible.
Commissioning by 2035
Note that Airbus for its part has already submitted several hydrogen-powered aircraft concepts and is also aiming to put a zero-emission commercial jet into service by 2035.
Eventually, a plane that uses hydrogen will only emit water. In theory, its use will not have a negative impact on the performance of the device, just as fast as burning kerosene.
Hydrogen-powered planes are still in their infancy, but the first commercial flights of less than 3,000 kilometers could begin as early as 2035, according to a 2020 report from the European Commission. A few years later, flights of up to 7,000 km could benefit from this technology. Currently, aviation alone is responsible for 3.6% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions.
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