Rolls-Royce to test 100% SAF in Trent engine

The Rolls-Royce Trent engine, housing ALECSys technology, that will be used for the Sustainable Aviation Fuel tests ©Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Toyce has announced that it is to run a series of ground tests with the Trent gas turbine engine using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) at its Derby, UK premises. The fuel is being produced by World Energy, a low-carbon fuel specialist based in Paramount, California, sourced by Shell Aviation and delivered by SkyNRG. This unblended fuel has the potential to reduce carbon 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 aim of the test is to show that their current engines can operate with 100% 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% with conventional jet fuel and can be used on all current Rolls-Royce engines. The jet engine that will be used in the ground tests will also incorporate ALECSys (Advanced Low Emissions Combustion System) lean-burn technology. ALECSys is part of the UltraFan® next generation engine demonstrator programme, which offers a 25% 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.”

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