Rolls-Royce has been conducting tests of their new 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in a business jet engine, as part of their ongoing ambition to play a leading role in enabling the sectors in which they operate to reach net zero carbon by 2050 and recently signing a brand new deal with with Alder Fuels, a clean tech developer and greencrude producer.
Earlier in the year, Rolls-Royce worked with easyJet and confirmed they have set a new aviation milestone with the world’s first run of a modern aero engine on hydrogen.The latest developments will see the world’s first net zero transatlantic flight to fly from London to New York in 2023.
Last year, the tests on their latest business aviation engine in development, the Pearl 700, in Germany, came just weeks after unblended SAF was successfully used for the first time in engine ground tests on a Trent 1000 engine in Derby, UK.
The SAF that was used in the tests was produced by low-carbon fuel specialist World Energy, and has the potential to reduce net CO2 lifecycle emissions by more than 75% compared to conventional jet fuel. Alder Fuels uses sustainable biomass such as regenerative grasses, forest residues, and agricultural waste products to create low-carbon Alder Greencrude (AGC) that can be converted into a drop-in SAF.
It has been announced that the first ever net zero transatlantic flight will take off from the UK next year, with Virgin Atlantic receiving government funding to fly using solely SAF. One of Virgin Atlantic’s flagship Boeing 787s, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, will take off from London Heathrow and make the journey to New York’s John F Kennedy Airport. Last month, the RAF completed the world’s first sustainable fuel military transporter flight using 100% SAF using the iconic Voyager aircraft.
Rolls-Royce has previously committed to ensuring all its Trent and Business Aviation engines are compatible with 100% SAF by 2023. With aviation widely held to be one of the hardest sectors to decarbonise, the government will introduce a SAF mandate requiring at least 10% of jet fuel to be made from sustainable sources by 2030.