Reaction Engines joins Honeywell-led Project NEWBORN to develop aerospace hydrogen fuel cell propulsion systems

Using Reaction Engines’ heat exchanger technology, the consortium will develop an aerospace-qualified megawatt-class hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system which will be a critical enabler to reduce aircraft emissions

Reaction Engines announces that it has joined Project NEWBORN, a recently launched programme led by Honeywell (NASDAQ: HON) that will develop a new generation of hydrogen fuel cells for the aviation industry.

Project NEWBORN will involve a multidisciplinary collaboration between 18 partners from 10 European countries to develop an aerospace-qualified megawatt-class fuel cell propulsion system, powered by hydrogen.

The consortium will push the boundaries of current hydrogen fuel cell research by establishing a hydrogen hybrid powertrain, employing batteries developed by Pipistrel, an award-winning Italian light aircraft manufacturer and leader in research and development of electric propulsion systems, alongside megawatt-level liquid hydrogen-powered fuel cells. Reaction Engines’ unique heat exchanger technology – which can be applied to both hydrogen and electric systems to deliver significant performance, safety and weight improvements – will play a key role in the Project’s development process.

The potential for such technologies is wide-ranging across all segments of the aerospace industry. The heat exchangers being developed by Reaction Engines are being tested on various platforms and provide a range of benefits, ultimately reducing emissions and increasing range. Advancements in this technology will help aircraft manufacturers deliver on sustainability commitments and meet government sustainability regulations while increasing operational efficiencies.

Kathryn Evans, Aerospace Sector Lead, Reaction Engines, said: “Reaction Engines is delighted to be a part of this exciting project to develop a new generation of high-performance hydrogen fuel cells that will play an important role in the shift to zero-carbon aerospace. Our innovative and versatile thermal management technology is already being proven in demanding applications and will be a key enabler of hydrogen fuel-cell powered flight. We are excited at the prospect of working with Honeywell, Pipistrel and other partners on Project NEWBORN to accelerate the aviation industry’s progress towards sustainable, efficient propulsion systems.”

Project NEWBORN is supported by the Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking, the EU’s research and innovation programme for transforming aviation toward a sustainable and climate-neutral future. The programme is providing €700 million funding for over 20 selected aviation technology sustainability projects, with NEWBORN ranked the No.1 project by Clean Aviation in its first Call for Proposals, receiving the highest score by the selection committee.

In addition, Reaction Engines has also joined Project TheMa4HERA, another technology research and development programme supported by Clean Aviation funding which will develop thermal management components and architecture for next-generation narrow body and regional, hybrid electric aircraft.

(image © Pipistrel)