Reaction Engines joins ATI projects RACHEL and LH2GT, working alongside Rolls-Royce to develop key technologies for a liquid hydrogen gas turbine and its fuel system

With the help of Reaction Engines’ world-leading thermal management expertise, the projects aim to develop cutting-edge technologies that will enable the development of zero-carbon aircraft propulsion systems.

Reaction Engines is excited to announce its participation in projects RACHEL and LH2GT, two cutting-edge projects developing technologies for the use of liquid hydrogen fuel in aviation. Led by Rolls-Royce and funded by the UK government’s Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), Reaction Engines brings to the projects its world-leading thermal management expertise as the aviation industry looks to accelerate its decarbonisation ambitions.

For the Robustly Achievable Combustion of Hydrogen Engine Layout (RACHEL) project, the UK Government and project partners (Rolls-Royce, Reaction Engines, Imperial College London, National Composite Centre, University of Bristol, Spirit AeroSystems, Causeway & ITP Aero UK) are providing £36.7 million of funding to develop key technologies and integrated powerplant architecture for a liquid hydrogen gas turbine. Reaction Engines’ novel heat exchanger architectures will be a critical part of optimising a gas turbine engine to run on liquid hydrogen fuel, being deployed on this project to develop a hydrogen-cooled oil cooler. This novel heat exchanger will utilise the high heat capacity of hydrogen to cool the engine oil, helping ensure safe and efficient operation throughout the system.

Alongside the RACHEL initiative, the Liquid Hydrogen Gas Turbine (LH2GT) project, which has received £31.4 million of UK Government and project partner (Rolls-Royce, Reaction Engines, Manufacturing Technology Centre, Cranfield University, University of Oxford, University College London, Heathrow Airport & Easy Jet) funding, will develop technologies needed to take cryogenic hydrogen from a storage tank, condition it, and deliver it to the combustor in a hydrogen-burning gas turbine.

Having worked on hydrogen-burning engine designs for many years as part of the SABRE programme, Reaction Engines’ team has extensive expertise that will be deployed on the LH2GT and RACHEL project as we help to decarbonise aviation.

Dominic Hall, Deputy Sector Lead – Aerospace, Reaction Engines said: “Reaction Engines is delighted to be part of these two innovative programmes that will support the development of zero-carbon propulsion technology for commercial aircraft. Our proprietary heat exchanger technology and thermal management expertise will play a crucial role in adapting existing turbine engine architecture to enable the use of liquid hydrogen fuel and support the sector’s decarbonisation efforts. We are proud to work alongside Rolls-Royce in these important ATI-funded initiatives that are not only working to make aviation more sustainable but also ensuring that the UK’s aerospace sector remains competitive well into the future.”