The Swedish H2JET fuel cell project is led by GKN Aerospace and aims to develop key engine subsystems for the H2-propulsion of medium range civil aircraft.
A collaboration of the Swedish Energy Agency, Chalmers University of Technology, Lund University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, University West, and Research institutes of Sweden (RISE) was announced by GKN Aerospace at the beginning of this month.
Decarbonizing aviation should depend heavily on hydrogen, as it is a powerful fuel that can power aircraft efficiently and only produce water in the process. It is possible for onboard electrical power to be generated using either direct combustion, as is the case with H2JET, or by using a fuel cell, as was the case with GKN Airbus’ ‘H2GEAR’ program earlier this year.
H2GEAR is exploring liquid hydrogen propulsion systems for sub-regional aircraft, whereas H2JET will study combustion-powered turboprop and turbofan engines and will enter service on intra-European routes in 2035.
Accelerating the development of international programs
By validating subsystem- and component technologies for hydrogen combustion engines, H2JET will speed up the development of vital international engine- and aircraft demonstrator programs, such as Clean Aviation Partnership in the recently launched EU framework program Horizon Europe.
Europe’s aviation sector has committed to an ambitious plan to reach net zero CO2 emissions, presented earlier this year as Destination 2050. The Destination 2050 roadmap shows a possible pathway that combines new technologies, improved operations, sustainable aviation fuels and economic measures. Hydrogen propulsion technology provides one of the most promising opportunities to decarbonize global aviation.
Henrik Runnemalm, Vice President at GKN Aerospace Global Technology Centre in Trollhättan, Sweden, said: “We are excited by this project and with the support from Swedish Energy Agency which makes it possible. We will be able to build on our long experience of hydrogen technology from Europe’s Ariane rocket launcher, as well as our unique capabilities in light-weight design and advanced manufacturing technology to help shape a sustainable future for aviation.”