Pratt & Whitney is to develop a novel hydrogen-burning engine that will cut carbon dioxide emissions to zero, slash nitrous oxide emissions by 80% and reduce fuel consumption for next-generation single-aisles by 35%.

The Hydrogen Steam Injected, Inter‐Cooled Turbine Engine (HySIITE) project has been awarded $3.8 million in research and development funding by the US Department of Energy.


Source: Pratt & Whitney

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In all, $175 million was awarded by the DoE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), under its OPEN 2021 programme for “high-impact, high-risk technologies”.

“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,” says Geoff Hunt, senior vice-president, engineering and technology at Pratt & Whitney.

“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.”

HySIITE will burn hydrogen in a thermodynamic engine cycle that incorporates steam injection from water vapour recovery to dramatically reduce NOx emissions.

Thanks to HySIITE’s semi-closed architecture, P&W aims for thermal efficiency greater than fuel cells and lower total operating costs compared with using “drop in” sustainable aviation fuels.

No details were immediately available on the planned development, nor to what technology readiness level the system will be brought.