LONDON, England: In a world aviation first, British company Rolls-Royce has announced that it has successfully tested a hydrogen-powered aircraft engine.
During the trial, which was jointly conducted with testing program partner easyJet, the company operated a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine with hydrogen created by wind and tidal power, it said this week.
The two companies added that they are already planning a second series of tests, with a longer-term goal of carrying out flight testing.
Plane manufacturer Airbus and French-U.S. engine maker CFM International are also jointly testing hydrogen propulsion technology.
In February, Airbus said it planned to fit a specially adapted version of a current generation engine near the back of an A380 superjumbo test plane, but it also told the European Union in 2021 that most airliners will rely on traditional jet engines until at least 2050.
In July, Eric Schulz, chief executive of SHZ Consulting, said that it would take more than one generation of aircraft to completely switch to hydrogen power, as the changes in design are considerable, according to Reuters.
Other related technologies include electric engines, which would be initially suitable for short flights, as well as propulsion using sustainable aviation fuel.