RACHEL: Robustly Achievable Combustion of Hydrogen Engine Layout

The RACHEL project aims develop the key technologies and architectures required to deliver an effective and practical hydrogen combustion gas turbine powerplant that is able to operate safely, practically and reliably with Liquid H2 fuel across the full operating range, and therefore deliver a commercially viable product. The ambition of the research is to create UK gas turbine powerplant technologies that enable ZERO Carbon emissions flight through Hydrogen powered gas turbines and accelerate aviation's contribution towards Net Zero 2050 goals. To deliver the gaseous hydrogen storage solutions, Rolls-Royce Plc will partner with NCC and University of Bristol and Imperial College London (SI&HM team led by Professors Aliabadi and Sharif Khodaei) to develop tanks that not only will support the engine demonstration programme but be a lead into future gaseous tanks in the aircraft where appropriate, such as fuel cell APU replacement.

The ICL team will in particular be investigating the application of structural health monitoring to monitor the integrity of composite storage tanks, given the challenges such as the effect of tank’s large thickness and curvature,  cyclic pressurisation and the harsh operational environment of the tank as well as the ability to detect microcracks which influences the permeability of the vessel wall.