Pratt & Whitney selected for hydrogen propulsion research project

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The US Department for Energy (DoE) has selected Pratt & Whitney to develop novel, high-efficiency hydrogen-fuelled propulsion technology for commercial aviation.

The ‘hydrogen steam injected, inter-cooled turbine engine’ (HySIITE) project will research liquid hydrogen combustion and water vapour recovery.

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It aims to achieve zero in-flight CO2 emissions, reduce nitrogen-oxide emissions by up to 80 per cent, and reduce fuel consumption by up to 35 per cent.

“This truly is an exciting opportunity to start developing the key technologies that could bring the industry’s first hydrogen steam injected, inter-cooled engine from concept to reality,” said Pratt & Whitney’s senior vice president, engineering and technology, Geoff Hunt.

“For nearly 100 years, Pratt & Whitney has been at the forefront of innovating cutting-edge technologies to continually advance the efficiency of aircraft engines, and we are thrilled to be selected to work on what could be the next breakthrough technology for aviation.”

Pratt & Whitney said the semi-closed system architecture planned for HySIITE will achieve thermal efficiency greater than fuel cells and reduce total operating costs when compared to using “drop in” sustainable aviation fuels.

Pratt & Whitney’s chief sustainability officer Graham Webb added: “Pratt & Whitney has a long legacy with hydrogen-fuelled propulsion, and we are excited to advance this emerging technology as part of our comprehensive strategy to support the aviation industry’s ambitious goal of achieving net zero aircraft COemissions by 2050.

“Partnerships with public agencies such as the Department of Energy have a vital role to play towards developing and maturing technologies that could have a global impact on reducing the environmental footprint of aviation.”

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