easyJet to explore hydrogen fuel cell propulsion with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions

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As part of the company’s commitment to decarbonize aviation, easyJet, one of Europe’s largest airlines, has teamed up with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS) to advance the research into a hydrogen fuel cell propulsion unit suitable for commercial aircraft.

Currently CAS is developing a hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system for an existing nine-seat Britten-Norman Islander aircraft which it hopes will take to the skies next year. The two companies will combine resources to gain a better understanding of how zero-carbon technologies can be integrated into future airline operations.

easyJet is currently working with the likes of Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Wright Electric to promote the development of zero-emission technologies and its supported infrastructure and is hopeful that it will be able to operate hydrogen-combustion, hydrogen-electric or a hybrid of both on a commercial basis by the mid-to-late 2030s. easyJet signed up to Race to Zero in November last year, underlining the low-cost carrier’s commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Commenting on the collaboration with CAeS, David Morgan, Director of Flight Operations, easyJet, said: “easyJet remains absolutely committed to sustainable flying and a towards a future with zero-emission flying.  We know that technology is a key driver to achieve our decarbonisation targets with hydrogen propulsion a frontrunner for short-haul airlines like easyJet.” Paul Hutton, Chief Executive Officer, CAeS, said: “CAeS is committed to ensuring the wide-spread adoption of zero-emissions aircraft and for this to succeed, the solutions must be commercially viable. We are delighted to be working with easyJet which, as Europe’s leading airline, is ideally placed to help shape our development with the end user in mind. Our nine-seat hydrogen fuel cell powered B-N Islander development is a vital first step in our journey to design and manufacture larger, longer range, regional aircraft between 19 and 100 seats.”

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