Rolls-Royce business jet engine goes green

A blend of 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) has been tested on a Rolls-Royce business jet engine for the first time.

business jet engine
(Credit: RR)

SAF is produced using renewable feedstocks such as cooking oil, animal fats, non-edible plants and agricultural waste and is claimed to dramatically reduce lifecycle fuel emissions compared to petroleum-derived jet fuel. However, current regulations dictate that planes are not permitted to fly with anything higher than a 50/50 blend of SAF and conventional fuel, and extensive ground testing will be required in order to certify higher blends.

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This latest test took place at Rolls-Royce Deutschland’s HQ in Dahlewitz on the southern outskirts of Berlin, and featured a Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 operating on a 100 per cent SAF.

The fuel was produced by low-carbon specialist World Energy in Paramount, California, sourced by Shell Aviation and delivered by SkyNRG.

According to Rolls-Royce, this unblended fuel has the potential to reduce net CO2 lifecycle emissions by over 75 per cent compared to conventional jet fuel, with the possibility of further reductions in the future.

business jet engine
(Credit: RR)

“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 – Business Aviation and Engineering Director at Rolls-Royce Deutschland.

The business jet engine test comes just weeks after Rolls-Royce carried out its first 100 per cent SAF tests on a commercial passenger jet engine, successfully using unblended SAF in ground tests on a Trent 1000 in Derby.

Rolls recently cut the ribbon on its new Testbed 80, said to be the world’s largest and smartest aerospace engine test rig. Alongside traditional testing, Testbed 80 will be used to trial various blends of SAF on the company’s family of engines, as the aviation industry aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.