In what could prove to be a massive breakthrough in the fight against climate change, Rolls-Royce and easyJet have successfully test run hydrogen as a potential alternative for jet fuel. The test, which took place at a British military facility, was a joint collaboration and was conducted on a Rolls-Royce AE 2100 (an aircraft engine used in Turboprop planes). The promising results make it possible to hope for a future that is more reliant on clean energy.
In a statement, the CEO of easyJet Johan Lundgren said, “This is a real success for our partnership team. We are committed to continuing to support this ground-breaking research because hydrogen offers great possibilities for a range of aircraft, including easyJet-sized aircraft. That will be a huge step forward in meeting the challenge of net zero by 2050.”
What does the Rolls-Royce and easyJet collaboration mean for our future?
From wildfires in Australia to a flurry of hurricanes in Florida, the world is witnessing the adverse effects of climate change like never before. If humanity needs to safeguard its future, it needs to start combating climate change in an effective manner, and that too sooner rather than later. One of the worst contributors to the rapid increase in global warming is the carbon footprint of jet fuels. In fact, the numbers are quite grim. According to a report, “jet fuel contributes 21.1 pounds of CO2 per gallon combusted, and flying one mile on average emits 53 pounds of CO2.”
So if we move to an alternative and cleaner source of energy to fly our planes, a source like hydrogen, we’d be taking a significant step in reducing our global carbon footprint, and by extension, combating climate change. The global goal of reaching zero carbon emissions by 2050 will become more likely if we are able to successfully use hydrogen as airplane fuel.
How likely Is hydrogen as the primary source of fuel in air travel?
According to industry experts, it’s unlikely. While the collaboration between Rolls-Royce and easyJet to test-run hydrogen as airplane engine-fuel was successful, experts are doubtful about its viability. In fact, it’s estimated that a Boeing 747 jumbo jet will require upwards of one million litres of hydrogen to offer the same mileage that 250,000 litres of jet fuel does.
Nevertheless, we can be hopeful that, as more advancements in technology take place, the results of this test are a bellwether about our future.
Main and feature picture credits: Pexels/@Ahmed Muntasir