Rolls-Royce completes 100% SAF testing on Pearl engines

An engineer works on a Rolls-Royce Pearl engine.
Photo Credit: Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce (LSE:RR) has announced the successful completion of a series of tests with 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). These tests were conducted on their latest generation of business aviation engines, the Pearl 15 and the Pearl 10X.

The Pearl 15, the first member of the Pearl engine family, powers Bombardier’s Global 5500 and 6500 aircraft, while the Pearl 10X is set to propel Dassault’s ultra-long-range flagship aircraft, the Falcon 10X.

These tests, carried out at Rolls-Royce’s Business Aviation headquarters in Dahlewitz, Germany, mark a further step in the aviation industry’s journey towards achieving net zero flight by 2050.

Not only did they demonstrate the compatibility of Rolls-Royce’s engines with 100% SAF, but they also aimed to measure the environmental impact of SAF compared to conventional Jet A-1 fuel.

Photo Credit: Rolls-Royce

Paving the Way to Greener Flight

The SAF used in these tests, known as HEFA (Hydro-processed Esters and Fatty Acids), is produced from waste-based sustainable feedstocks, including used cooking oils and waste fat.

This innovative fuel source shows tremendous promise in significantly reducing net CO2 lifecycle emissions by approximately 80% when compared to conventional jet fuel.

One of the most exciting outcomes of the tests was the confirmation of a cleaner combustion process when using SAF.

In addition to a cleaner burn, there were significantly lower levels of non-volatile particulate matter (nvPM) released into the atmosphere.

This, combined with the low NOx combustor technology of the Pearl 10X and its additive manufactured combustor tiles, resulted in an overall reduction of all emissions, further contributing to a greener and more sustainable aviation industry.

The Path to Certification

These tests were a resounding confirmation that Rolls-Royce’s current engine portfolio, designed for large civil and business jet applications, is fully capable of operating with 100% SAF.

This achievement sets the stage for the future certification of this revolutionary fuel source. It’s worth noting that, as of now, SAF is only certified for blends of up to 50% with conventional jet fuel.

However, Rolls-Royce’s commitment to advancing sustainable aviation is evident, and by the end of 2023, they plan to demonstrate the compatibility of all their in-production Trent and business aviation engines with 100% SAF.

Dr. Dirk Geisinger, Director of Business Aviation at Rolls-Royce, expressed the company’s dedication to sustainability and the pivotal role of Sustainable Aviation Fuels in decarbonizing long-haul flights.

He stated, “Sustainable Aviation Fuels are a key element of our sustainability strategy, as they will play an important role in decarbonizing long-haul flight.”

“With its outstanding environmental performance, the Pearl family is already setting new standards in the ultra-long-range corporate jet market.”

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
3 Min Read
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