Rolls-Royce is to use 100% sustainable aviation fuel for the first time in testing next generation engine technology as part of its decarbonisation strategy.
The tests will aim to confirm that unblended SAF makes a significant contribution to improving the environmental performance of gas turbine engines.
The SAF being used in the tests was produced by low-carbon fuel specialist World Energy in Paramount, California, sourced by Shell Aviation and delivered by SkyNRG.
These tests aim to demonstrate that its current engines can operate with 100% SAF as a full “drop-in” option, laying the groundwork for moving such fuels towards certification.
The ground tests will involve a Trent engine which also incorporates ALECSys (Advanced Low Emissions Combustion System) lean-burn technology in Derby, UK.
ALECSys is part of the UltraFan next generation engine demonstrator programme, which offers a 25% fuel saving over the first generation of Trent engines.
Paul Stein, Rolls-Royce chief technology officer, said: “Aviation is a tremendous force for good, keeping the world connected, but we have to do that sustainably. These tests aim to show that we can deliver real emissions reductions. If SAF production can be scaled up – and aviation needs 500 million tonnes a year by 2050 - we can make a huge contribution for our planet.”
Gene Gebolys, chief executive officer and founder of World Energy, added: “World Energy exists to empower leaders to innovate by providing the world’s most advanced low carbon fuels. Rolls-Royce is putting their technological prowess to work to understand how to maximise their potential in engines and we are proud to support them.”
Theye Veen, managing director of SkyNRG, said: “This programme is a great example of what can be achieved when companies from across the aviation value chain that share an ambition of reducing emissions work together. As a pioneer in SAF, SkyNRG encourages innovative tests like this run by Rolls-Royce.”
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