One of the biggest carriers at Liverpool Airport, easyJet, is stepping up its drive towards net zero carbon flying with a new partnership with aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce. Tony McDonough reports
Low cost airline easyJet is stepping up its decarbonisation efforts with a new partnership with aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce.
Earlier in December easyJet, which operates 25 routes out of Liverpool John Lennon Airport, announced it was backing the development of a hydrogen-fuelled commercial aircraft that has the potential to offer emissions-free flying.
Being developed by Airbus, which operates a huge wing-making plant near Chester, the aircraft could carry 279 passengers halfway around the world (eg from London to San Francisco) without a stop or anywhere in the world with just one refuelling stop.
The carrier has already entered into a partnership with US-based Wright Electric to develop a commercial airliner that would run off electric batteries rather than aviation fuel. Earlier this year the project reached a major milestone when it started testing a 2MW motor.
Now easyJet is to embark on a new research project with Rolls-Royce which is an industry leader in the development and manufacture of aircraft engines. The study will look to explore alternative energy and power systems, including low carbon and zero-emission technologies, and their application for aircraft.
The study will include analysis of wider elements of the aviation energy and operational ecosystem, including fuel production, transportation, storage and handling. They are working together to further develop knowledge of these topics in relation to both electrical and hydrogen-based power systems.
For further insight and understanding, both companies intend to involve a wide range of expertise, including energy providers, airports and aviation safety regulators.
David Morgan, director of flight operations and easyJet, said: “EasyJet remains absolutely committed to sustainable flying and a zero-emissions future. We know that technology is a key driver to achieve our decarbonisation targets.
“Disruptive technologies such as electric and hydrogen propulsion show great potential for short-haul airlines such as easyJet and we look forward to collaborating with Rolls-Royce to support bringing this technology to maturity as early as possible.”
Jason Ash, head of product development – large engines, at Rolls-Royce, added: “We know that sustainable aviation fuels already provide a drop-in solution, and so will have the most powerful impact on decarbonising aviation and achieving net zero by 2050.
“But we also want to better understand other forms of propulsion, energy and power and their potential benefits along with the challenges in operation. We look forward to working closely with easyJet to increase our understanding in these areas.”