Sunday, July 21, 2024

Rolls-Royce joins group to develop hydrogen as an aviation fuel

Rolls-Royce is backing a new UK hydrogen alliance launched to accelerate the drive towards zero carbon aviation.

The engineering giant, which has its civil aerospace business in Derby, has joined a number of major players across the aviation industry to launch the Hydrogen in Aviation Alliance.

The HIA aims to assist government and policymakers by mapping out the milestones to ensure infrastructure, regulatory and policy changes keep pace with the ground-breaking technological developments in carbon-free flying.

Rolls-Royce is joined in the alliance by other leading companies in the UK aviation and renewable energy sectors, including easyJet, Airbus, Ørsted, GKN Aerospace and Bristol Airport.

Grazia Vittadini, chief technology officer at Rolls-Royce, said: “Collaboration is key when it comes to achieving our net zero ambitions as an industry, which is why we are proud to be part of the Hydrogen in Aviation Alliance.

“Our contribution to HIA is the capability and experience we have in pioneering new technologies and solutions – we have already tested a modern aero engine on green hydrogen and we strongly believe it is one of the solutions that will help decarbonise aviation in the mid to long-term.”

According to the alliance, the UK is currently in a strong position to become a global leader in hydrogen-powered aviation, but further steps must be taken to capture the opportunity, secure long-term employment and economic benefits, as well as meet critical decarbonisation targets.

New research shows that 81% of the British public believe hydrogen is the best option to decarbonise aviation with 91% supporting the UK government investing in hydrogen production and use in the aviation sector.

Hydrogen is regarded as a very promising alternative-fuel option for short-haul aviation.

Airbus is developing new hydrogen powered aircraft with the aim of entering commercial service from 2035 and Rolls-Royce has already proven that hydrogen could power a jet engine following successful ground tests in 2022.

In partnership with easyJet, Rolls-Royce conducted a ground test on an early concept demonstrator using green hydrogen created by wind and tidal power.

The test took place at an outdoor test facility at MoD Boscombe Down, using a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine.

Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet and chair of the HIA, said:  “There is no doubt that the UK has the potential to become a world leader in hydrogen aviation, which could bring with it a £34 billion per annum boost to the country’s economy by 2050, but in order to capture this opportunity, rapid change is needed and the time to act is now.

“We must work together to deliver the radical solutions required for a hard to abate industry like aviation so we can protect and maximise the benefits that it brings to the UK economy and society and that we know British consumers want to be preserved.

“HIA looks forward to working with the UK Government to ensure the right funding, regulatory and policy changes are implemented to accelerate the delivery of zero carbon aviation.”

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