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The Hydrogen Stream: Rolls-Royce opts for SAF, not hydrogen in large aircraft

Rolls-Royce has told pv magazine that it prefers sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) for large commercial flights, but it continues to invest in hydrogen for mid-size aircraft in partnership with easyJet.

Rolls-Royce said that it does not see hydrogen as a medium-term option for large commercial aircraft, as it currently prefers SAF. However, it continues to invest in hydrogen for mid-size planes in partnership with easyJet. “I don’t believe in the next 15, 20 years hydrogen will play a role,” said Rolls-Royce CEO Tufan Erginbilgic during a recent investor presentation. The UK company has teamed up with several companies in the hydrogen sector for different projects, from production based on SOEC technology to the ground test of the “world’s first run of a modern aero engine on hydrogen. And although it has sold its its electric flight division, it told pv magazine that it remains committed to hydrogen development, with planned ground tests. It said it aims to power a mid-size aircraft with hydrogen by the mid-2030s with easyJet.

ACWA Power has launched the first phase of a green hydrogen project in Uzbekistan. It has an annual capacity of 3,000 tons. “Once the second phase is complete, 2.4 GW of wind energy will power the production of 500,000 tonnes of green ammonia per year,” said the Saudi Arabian company. 

Lhyfe plans to produce up to 330 tons of green hydrogen per day at its Lubmin plant in northern Germany, with a targeted commissioning date of 2029. “Part of Lhyfe’s backbone development strategy, this plant will feed into the German core hydrogen pipeline network, for the development of which the German government recently unveiled a €20 billion financing plan,” said the French company. The project site will offer access to existing and future electricity production capacities from offshore wind farms. It benefits from an extra-high voltage grid connection operated by 50Hertz, which already operates a transformer station in Lubmin. The plant will be built on the site of a decommissioned nuclear power plant.

Spain’s Port of València has became the first port in the world to use a stacker capable of moving containers of more than 30 tons using only hydrogen as fuel. “Hydrogen is stored on board the ReachStacker in high-pressure tanks that can be refilled in 10-15 minutes,” said the port. The port also said that it deployed the first hydrogen-powered terminal tractor, developed by Atena, Enea, and the Parthenope University of Naples. “This Terminal Tractor has a fuel cell/battery hybrid powertrain, which allows the vehicle to perform all the intensive tasks that are required during roll-on/roll-off operations. Its hydrogen storage system, made of four Type 3 cylinders (350 bar), has an overall capacity of around 12 kg, which guarantees a continuous operation of at least six hours.”

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Source: pv magazine