Rolls-Royce Tests Hydrogen-Fueled Aircraft: Are We Moving To Hydrogen-Fueled Aviation Engines?

Moving towards a cleaner future!


Roll-Royce became the first company to test out an aircraft engine powered by hydrogen fuel. It is certainly the first-of-its-kind experiment that sparks hope for the future of using alternative fuel in Aircraft. Hydrogen as a fuel concept date back to the 1800s but using it like any other commonly used fuel source like petrol or CNG is a fairly new idea.

The experiment by Rolls-Royce showcases that it is possible to power an engine, but there are lots of things to figure out. However, if it happens, the aim of reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2050 could be possible.

Why is hydrogen fuel a viable alternative?

When hydrogen burns, it doesn’t produce carbon emissions which makes it a cleaner fuel as compared to the current alternative. Hydrogen fuel cells can decrease the dependence on fossil fuels which are slowly depleting as we speak. It can be used to power public transport like buses which can further shrink carbon emissions and save the planet in the process.

When will Aircraft start using it?

It is not as simple as you think. Discovering a fuel source and using it are two entirely different things. The primary issue with Hydrogen is that it has high pressure. Aircraft will need huge fuel tanks, much bigger than they already use to carry jet fuel. But Aircraft need to be light and cannot afford to carry such huge loads along with passengers and cargo.

hydrogen fuel
Image: Rolls-Royce

Since Hydrogen is in gaseous form, leakage issues are also a concern. Airplane makers will have to figure out a way to liquefy the Hydrogen and make tanks smaller enough to not exceed the Aircraft’s weight. On top of that, green Hydrogen is very costly, and unless mass adoption comes into existence, it would increase air fares multiple times.

Even Elon Musk isn’t a fan of Hydrogen and instead prefers nuclear energy. Both have their limitations, but the present concern is the earth’s deteriorating health, and Hydrogen seems to be a way to fix this. Only time will tell if Hydrogen becomes a mainstream fuel like petrol and diesel or remains a flawed discovery.

Abhishek Mishra

Abhishek Mishra

I love exploring technology and devote my time to curating detailed posts and supplying credible information to inquisitive users. I wish I had some spare time to play a few RPGs or clean my desk.
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