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Rolls-Royce Testing 100% Sustainable Jet Fuel

Nov. 16, 2020
Tests aim to show that current turbofan engines can operate with 100% SAF as a full “drop-in” option, toward certification for fuel that could reduce CO2 lifecycle emissions by over 75%.

Rolls-Royce is planning to conduct ground tests on a high-bypass turbofan engine using 100% sustainable aviation fuel for the first time, aiming to establish that unblended SAF can be used in current engine models in place of current jet-fuel formulations.

The SAF to be tested will be produced by World Energy, a California-based low-carbon fuel specialist, and supplied by Shell Aviation and SkyNRG. “This unblended fuel has the potential to reduce net CO2 lifecycle emissions by over 75% when compared to traditional jet fuel, and by an even greater amount in the years to come,” according to Rolls-Royce.

The ground tests will be conducted by Rolls in Derby, England, involving a Trent series engine that also incorporates the ALECSys (Advanced Low Emissions Combustion System) lean-burn technology. ALECSys is part of Rolls’ UltraFan® engine demonstrator program, in which it aim to reduce fuel consumption by 25% versus the first generation of Trent engines.

“Aviation is a tremendous force for good, keeping the world connected, but we have to do that sustainably,” Rolls-Royce CTO Paul Stein. “These tests aim to show that we can deliver real emissions reductions. If SAF production can be scaled up – and aviation needs 500 million metric tons a year by 2050 - we can make a huge contribution for our planet.”

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