Image: GKN Aerospace

GKN Aerospace is heading a Swedish national partnership initiative named H2JET. The program’s objective is to develop technical solutions for three critical engine subsystems used in H2-propulsion systems on medium-range passenger aircraft.

GKN Aerospace will partner with the Swedish Energy Agency, Chalmers University of Technology, Lund University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, University West, Research institutes of Sweden (RISE), and Oxeon on the two-year project, which began this month.

Hydrogen is projected to play a critical role in aviation’s decarbonisation strategy due to its ability to power aircraft efficiently while producing only water as a byproduct. Direct combustion, which is the emphasis of H2JET, or onboard electrical generation via a fuel cell, which is the focus of GKN Aerospace’s recently launched ‘H2GEAR’ program.

While H2GEAR is investigating a liquid hydrogen propulsion system for sub-regional aircraft, H2JET is investigating hydrogen combustion-powered turboprop or turbofan engines for the single aisle market in preparation for possible service on intra-European routes in 2035.

H2JET positions GKN Aerospace at the forefront of the technical advancements required for a more sustainable aviation future. This would usher in a new era of clean air travel, obviating the need for damaging CO2 emissions.

By verifying subsystem- and component-level technology for hydrogen combustion engines, H2JET will accelerate the development of critical international engine- and aircraft-demonstration programs, such as the recently created EU framework initiative Horizon Europe’s Clean Aviation Partnership.

Europe’s aviation industry has committed to an ambitious goal to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, dubbed Destination 2050 earlier this year. The Destination 2050 roadmap outlines a possible path forward that incorporates new technologies, enhanced operations, environmentally friendly aviation fuels, and economic measures. Hydrogen propulsion technology is one of the most potential avenues for worldwide aviation decarbonization.

Nedim Husomanovic

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