Rolls-Royce demonstrates hydrogen-powered jet engine

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,576   +174
Staff member
What just happened? Rolls-Royce has become the first to demonstrate a hydrogen-powered aircraft engine in what marks a new aviation milestone. Rolls-Royce Holdings plc and airline partner easyJet conducted the ground test on a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine at MoD Boscombe Down, a military testing site in the UK.

Hydrogen for the test was generated using wind and tidal power from the Orkney Islands of Scotland and was supplied by EMEC (European Marine Energy Centre).

Rolls-Royce partnered with easyJet in July to develop hydrogen combustion engine technology for aircraft. At the time, the duo said they hoped to put hydrogen-powered craft in the air by the mid-2030s and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Grant Shapps, said the UK is leading the global shift to guilt-free flying, noting that the test is an exciting demonstration of how innovation can transform how we live our lives. It is "a prime example of how we can work together to make aviation cleaner while driving jobs across the country," Shapps added.

In related news, Airbus recently announced it is developing a hydrogen-powered fuel cell engine. The company said it identified hydrogen as one of the most promising alternatives to power a zero-emission aircraft because it emits no carbon dioxide when generated from renewable energy.

Airbus said it will start ground and flight testing of the fuel cell engine architecture near the middle of the decade using the A380 MSN 1 aircraft, which will be modified to carry liquid hydrogen tanks and their associated distribution systems. Airbus sees hydrogen as a potential solution for zero-emission aircraft it plans to put into service by 2035.

Not everyone is so quick to jump on the hydrogen bandwagon. Earlier this year, Boeing said using hydrogen aboard a commercial aircraft presents a number of important engineering and sustainability challenges. Because hydrogen isn't very energy dense by volume, most hydrogen aircraft will need to be larger and use more energy per passenger mile compared to a jet fuel craft, the company said.

Rolls-Royce and its partner are planning additional tests that will eventually lead to a full-scale ground test of a Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 jet engine.

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Bullwinkle M

Posts: 852   +767

Hodor

Posts: 436   +308
Burning hydrogen will increase levels of the #1 greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

Exactly so. But it doesn't matter. Climate change is not driven by those gasses anyway. Neither #1, nor #2, nor whichever other excuse they invent to introduce global tax to rip off the naive citizens.
 

toooooot

Posts: 1,828   +984
I hope eventually there will be super safe hydrogen cars that can be fueled by compressed fuel, to fill up the car once a month. That's what excites me the most about hydrogen engines
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 9,363   +8,581
Sounds like wind power might be the only non-polluting source, of course that presents it's own challenges and if have tunnels on your route ...... oh well .......
 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 852   +767
I hope eventually there will be super safe hydrogen cars that can be fueled by compressed fuel, to fill up the car once a month. That's what excites me the most about hydrogen engines
Compressed Fuel?
You mean a gas?
I don't think so

The trick is to create a synthetic fuel from hydrogen that burns much slower than pure hydrogen

Hydrogen gas burns at supersonic speed making it extremely dangerous as a compressed gas

Slower burning makes it safer and produces more torque

The amount of pressure in an internal combustion engine is directly related to the intake temp and the exhaust temp
Lowering the intake temp while keeping the exhaust temp the same gives you more pressure
Keeping the intake temp the same while increasing the exhaust temp also gives you more pressure

Finding a synthetic hydrogen based fuel that does not explode while providing the greatest amount of temperature differential from intake to exhaust is what you need in a concentrated liquid form to get the highest pressure and power output over the longest run times

Pressurized gas will not provide long enough run times even if you make it slow burning
A liquid gives you several orders of magnitude run time over a pressurized gas and the slowest burn rates that provide the greatest amount of power without destroying the engine

The only pressurized fuel (or gas) you have is during the compression phase when getting the liquid ready to burn inside the combustion chamber
 
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toooooot

Posts: 1,828   +984
Compressed Fuel?
You mean a gas?
I don't think so

The trick is to create a synthetic fuel from hydrogen that burns much slower than pure hydrogen

Hydrogen gas burns at supersonic speed making it extremely dangerous as a compressed gas

Slower burning makes it safer and produces more torque

The amount of pressure in an internal combustion engine is directly related to the intake temp and the exhaust temp
Lowering the intake temp while keeping the exhaust temp the same gives you more pressure
Keeping the intake temp the same while increasing the exhaust temp also gives you more pressure

Finding a synthetic hydrogen based fuel that does not explode while providing the greatest amount of temperature differential from intake to exhaust is what you need in a concentrated liquid form to get the highest pressure and power output over the longest run times

Pressurized gas will not provide long enough run times even if you make it slow burning
A liquid gives you several orders of magnitude run time over a pressurized gas and the slowest burn rates that provide the greatest amount of power without destroying the engine

The only pressurized fuel (or gas) you have is during the compression phase when getting the liquid ready to burn inside the combustion chamber
I meant something that is filled up in the amount that could last weeks or even months for daily driving
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,399   +1,040
We will see hydrogen trucks etc first .
Yes Hydrogen is hard to compress - but nature is weird - as you can store more in some nanoframe material - which seems counter intuitive - this also makes it safer - so X ( Hydrogen ) + Y ( storage material ) takes up less space than just X

hydrogen is actually a metal - though very very very hard to make metal state
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 1,566   +1,472
LOL, hydrogen is not a metal. Metallic hydrogen is an exotic state that can only be achieved under insane conditions like 250GPa pressure, like probably in the core of Jupiter.

Hydrogen as a fuel is crap, less than half the energy density of rubbish Li ion batteries. It might burn clean, but with such low energy density the last thing aircraft would need is to carry massive fuel tanks of the explosive fuel. Solid state batteries are a better option and in the short term bio-fuel.
 

psycros

Posts: 4,571   +6,884
LOL, hydrogen is not a metal. Metallic hydrogen is an exotic state that can only be achieved under insane conditions like 250GPa pressure, like probably in the core of Jupiter.

Hydrogen as a fuel is crap, less than half the energy density of rubbish Li ion batteries. It might burn clean, but with such low energy density the last thing aircraft would need is to carry massive fuel tanks of the explosive fuel. Solid state batteries are a better option and in the short term bio-fuel.

Fuel cells work just fine. Ask NASA, or Formula 1.
 

toooooot

Posts: 1,828   +984
LOL, hydrogen is not a metal. Metallic hydrogen is an exotic state that can only be achieved under insane conditions like 250GPa pressure, like probably in the core of Jupiter.

Hydrogen as a fuel is crap, less than half the energy density of rubbish Li ion batteries. It might burn clean, but with such low energy density the last thing aircraft would need is to carry massive fuel tanks of the explosive fuel. Solid state batteries are a better option and in the short term bio-fuel.
That's why it will be perfect if someone can find a way to make it thicker/dence/compressed safely.
Imagine a tank that can last a month. Imagine that it is also safe for environment etc. It would produce less pollution than the batteries.
 

Hodor

Posts: 436   +308
We will see hydrogen trucks etc first .
Yes Hydrogen is hard to compress - but nature is weird - as you can store more in some nanoframe material - which seems counter intuitive - this also makes it safer - so X ( Hydrogen ) + Y ( storage material ) takes up less space than just X

Actually, when some nanoframes are exposed to hydrogen, in some cases it can happen that hydrogen atoms come so close together a tiny-mini nuclear fusion appears. Producing a bit of helium. And a bit of energy. So, some believe that the route to nuclear fusion isn't a tokamak style reactor, but in fact, something much colder. Low-temperature fusion.


 

Milest

Posts: 19   +9
Totally unremarkable.

The problem hasn't been getting engines to burn hydrogen. The issue is storing it safely and efficiently aboard the vehicle.
 

BobHome

Posts: 173   +68
Yeah, the key is to make a synthetic fuel in liquid form that does not require cryogenic temperatures for storage
Ah, I still remember the promises of the late 50's-60's: Every ten years, drop a pellet into the tank of your nuclear-powered car.