An unmanned, hydrogen fuel cell powered jet engine made its high-pitched debut earlier this today. Which, according to the group of developers behind it, makes it the world's first environmentally friendly jet engine.
They don't seem to have been content with simply getting the jet off the ground, the pushing itself to a top speed of 700km per hour, and even performed a few aerial acrobatics (click on above title to see video).
Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies Inc see the technology winding up in other unmanned fly machines (military recon, mapping, search and find, etc) which they say would be capable of 30 hour flight times.
General Electric (GE) have not officially made a comment, but when I emailed Mark Dunn, a Senior Aerospace Engineer I know who works for GE, said:
'We have informal plans in the works, but there's no reason - if we start now -why we shouldn't get a full scale commercial airliner HydroJet prototype up and running by 2012.'
My estimate, technically speaking, is that we could replace all conventional gas guzzling, CO2 emitting, commercial jet turbines replaced by 2020.
I foresee a real scramble coming between the commercial jet heavy weights.
RR V GE Hydrogen Jet Engine development will be the biggest aerospace boxing bout of the early 21st century.
And Hay! We can all go on far away holidays again, without denting our conscience - and planet - anymore.