Rolls-Royce Conducts Its First 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel Tests

The trials took place on small business jet engines.
Loukia Papadopoulos

As climate change looms over us, both countries and firms are seeking to move to more sustainable fuels in order to reach net-zero carbon emissions. Boeing, for instance, aims to use 100% sustainable fuels on all planes by 2030. Now, Rolls-Royce has just conducted their first tests of a 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in a business jet engine.

The tests were done on the firm's latest business aviation engine in development, the Pearl 700, in Dahlewitz, Germany. The Pearl 700 combines the Advance2 engine core, "the most efficient core available across the business aviation sector," with a brand-new low-pressure system. This combination leads to an 8% increase in take-off thrust at 18,250lb compared to the BR725's 17,000lb. The engine also offers 5% higher efficiency.

The new tests were conducted just mere weeks after an unblended SAF was successfully used for the first time in engine ground tests on a Trent 1000 engine in Derby, UK. Now, the firm is looking into moving this type of fuel towards certification. Currently, SAF is only certified for blends of up to 50% with conventional jet fuel.

“Sustainable aviation fuels have the potential to significantly reduce the carbon emissions of our engines and combining this potential with the extraordinary performance of our Pearl engine family brings us another important step closer to enabling our customers to achieve net-zero carbon emissions," said Dr. Joerg Au, Chief Engineer of Business Aviation and Engineering Director of Rolls-Royce Deutschland.

The SAF used in the tests may reduce net CO2 lifecycle emissions by more than 75% compared to conventional jet fuel. The novel fuel was produced by fuel specialist World Energy in Paramount, California, sourced by Shell Aviation and delivered by SkyNRG. The tests could pave the way for bigger planes with bigger engines to also seek more sustainable methods of fueling. Wouldn't that be nice now?

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