Rolls-Royce is to start ground tests in Derby, UK testing the use of 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in a Trent engine.
The ground tests will involve a Trent engine which also incorporates ALECSys (Advanced Low Emissions Combustion System) lean-burn technology. Rolls-Royce is to use 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel for the first time in engine ground tests on next-generation engine technology as part of its ongoing 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. This unblended fuel has the potential to significantly reduce net CO2 lifecycle emissions by more than 75 per cent compared to conventional jet fuel, with the possibility of further reductions in years to come.
Tests demonstrate that current engines can operate on 100 per cent SAF
These tests aim to demonstrate that our current engines can operate with 100 percent SAF as a full “drop-in” option, laying the groundwork for moving such fuels towards certification. At present, SAF is certified for blends of up to 50 per cent with conventional jet fuel and can be used on all current Rolls-Royce engines.
The tests will start in the coming weeks in Derby, UK, the ground tests will involve a Trent engine which also incorporates ALECSys (Advanced Low Emissions Combustion System) lean-burn technology. ALECSys is part of the UltraFan® next generation engine demonstrator programme, which offers a 25 per cent 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, World Energy, said: “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.”
In addition to supplying the SAF with SkyNRG, Shell Aviation is also providing Rolls-Royce with AeroShell lubricants for the ALECSys engine test programme. The ALECSys programme is supported by the European Union via Clean Sky and in the UK by the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK; the 100 per cent SAF testing programme is additionally supported by ATI, iUK and Gulf Aviation.