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Rolls Royce conducts third test of hydrogen powered aircraft engine

In September, Rolls-Royce presented its AE 2100 test engine at an easyJet conference on the airline's roadmap to net zero aviation. Today the BBC has reported that Rolls-Royce, in partnership with easyJet, has commenced tests running the AE 2100 on hydrogen. ( More...

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Tim Dyck 4
Back in the 80s I thought hydrogen fuel cells would be the future. We saw them tested in busses, transport trucks and even locomotives. The future looked good for hydrogen and then it faded and eventually vanished. Governments and climate activists should have jumped all over it but instead they wanted batteries in vehicles and ignored hydrogen as a fuel source. Sadly I expect the same to happen here, it’s not about viability or efficiency but popularity.
J B 4
I briefly invested and lost money in Ballard in the late 90s but recent developments have been encouraging, especially in Europe, though there's an ongoing US project with an informative video on Youtube. Beyond fuel cell engines, hydrogen can be efficiently manufactured at site from solar and other renewable electricity generation as a storage medium, effectively eliminating the need for massive expensive, dirty-mined lithium, etc. battery storage. The US video proposes existing car and truck fleet operators and even ordinary gasoline stations could add direct atmospheric hydrogen extraction on site without need for tanker truck delivery a new distribution infrastructure.
Billy Koskie 3
The sheer volume hydrogen would take to get enough range to matter is going to make hydrogen-fueled aircraft difficult at best to be economic. You'll need wings the size of a Concorde seating less than 100 passengers to go a few hundred miles. I seriously doubt you'd want to go with liquid hydrogen just because of the insulation and icing problems alone, not to mention the material and ongoing inspection requirements to attempt to make this aircraft last more than a couple of hundred flights. In my opinion, this is going to be a gold-plated albatross.
wayne holder 3
Stan Meyers patented hydrogen production back in the 80's. Drove a vehicle from Ca. to NY on 22 gallons of water.

I hope everyone realizes that carbon fuels are never going to go away and the world will never be green unless we get rid of vehicles and go back to horse and buggy. Electric will need to disappear too, back to candles and lamp oils, firewood for cooking and heating. And lets not forget about the outhouse. But we all know none of this will ever happen...will it!!

Need to stop wasting money on the silly thought that the entire world is all of the sudden going to go green.
Steven Williamson 1
EXACTLY! They said it back in 1900 - a good horse & buggy will NEVER be replaced by those newfangled horseless carriages!
Nige Lites 4
"The hydrogen used in the Rolls-Royce AE 2100 is of the green variety produced at the European Marine Energy Centre in the Orkney Islands of Scotland."

So, made using Wave/Wind = Green.
They doesn't say where the RR Tests were, but probably not the Scottish Islands or anywhere near by, which would mean transport of the H2 by Diesel powered boats and lorries, (electric versions exist, but were not mentioned, they would be if they were going for maximum green credentials).

Anyway, this is just a test.

The conundrum here is that to create a full Green infrastructure and supply chain there would be great expense that would take quite while to recoup, and huge amounts of Carbon expended in it's construction, if not it's operation.
And that doesn't include the massive task of producing new-gen aircraft with cryogenic fuel systems.

But you can't knock them for trying, gotts start somewhere.

Personally, I think at least in the near term, SAF may be the way forward.
Production can be progressively ramped up, and demand may well increase as the same product can also be substituted in land and sea transport, all making use of legacy infrastructure and vehicles, planes, boats, trains and trucks, all requiring much less adaption than a switch to a H2 economy.
Tim Dyck 2
Back in the 80s the City of Vancouver purchased busses that used Hydrogen Fuel Cells. It was a big step and I thought that within a few decades fuel cells would be used across Canada and the USA. But reality got in the way and a lack of infrastructure and interest by governments killed the whole idea of fuel cells in the land transportation industry.
Sadly the same will likely happen in the aviation industry. Governments want EVs and batteries in aircraft so no matter how inefficient they are that is the direction we are going.
Jeff Ritchie 1
Producing Hydrogen for fuel requires other sources of energy.
Gray requires fossil fuels as a source and requires some fuel for heating at high temperatures.
Blue requires natural gas as a source.
Green requires some type of fuel to create steam, my guess would be natural gas. The info below states the source is exclusively from renewable sources. It takes a lot of electricity to heat water to have a continuous, large volume of steam.
Those are just the direct requirements, I'm not sure anyone knows the indirect fossil fuel requirements (construction, transportation, etc)
I'm not a chemist or engineer, but a little research on all renewables point you back to the need for fossil fuels to keep us all mobile.

From Linde Engineering:
Hydrogen production and usage can be categorized in three primary ways:
Gray hydrogen
Since fossil fuels are used in this production method, the end product is called gray hydrogen. Gray hydrogen can also be produced through the partial oxidation of refinery residues. This residue material is heated to a very high temperature with oxygen and steam to produce a raw synthesis gas.

Blue hydrogen
If the carbon dioxide (CO2) contained in the synthesis gas is removed in a downstream carbon capture process, the resulting hydrogen is called blue.

Green hydrogen
Green hydrogen is obtained either by steam reforming, if bio-based feedstock is available, or by splitting water by electrolysis. The electricity needed for this process is generated exclusively from renewable sources.
Tim Dyck 3
The article said they are using wind and wave generated electricity.
Robert Black -1
Where do they get the hydrogen? If they get it by reforming natural gas, it's not that "green" after all.
Ron Slater 6
We can get it from the H in H2O
Perry Ramsey 3
How? By asking the hydrogen atoms very nicely to decouple from the oxygen atom and form a line on the left?

If you answer is anything else, hydrogen is not an energy source, it's a storage medium. A very volumetrically inefficient one. That means you need very large, heavy, expensive tanks to store the same amount of usable energy as you can store using kerosene in a much smaller, lighter, cheaper tank. And safer.

You can also transport kerosene in a smaller, cheaper, lower loss pipeline than you can transport hydrogen.

Saying that you generated the electricity to electrolyze the hydrogen using a windmill is not an answer. That electricity could have been used somewhere else to displace fossil fuel use, and it reduces fossil fuel use more to do that than to try to put a liquid hydrogen tank on an airplane.

Michael Turner 3
Blue Hyd used natural gas Green Hyd uses renewable sources of electricity in this case wind and wave.
Tim Segulin 2
Electrolysis is overall the cleanest way to make hydrogen but I understand this kind of green hydrogen is very expensive.
John Taylor -1
So, nothing was learned from the Hindenburg disaster? Just how I'd like to travel; in a flying bomb.
Craig Good 1
This is nothing like the Hindenberg. And do you think that jet fuel can't explode? Look up TWA 800.
John Taylor 1
Of course jet fuel can explode. But it takes a much higher ignition temperature. Hydrogen has an incredibly lower flash point. And while the Hindenburg was basically bags of hydrogen, a jet aircraft fuel tank is not much more than bags of fuel also. A stray spark in a hydrogen vapor environment is much more likely to result in a catastrophic explosion than in Jet A1/JP-8. I spent twenty six years as a crew chief on KC-135's and have some knowledge of jet fuel. Plus, one of our tankers exploded inflight in 1982 killing 24 souls so don't talk to me about jet fuel exploding.


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