Rolls-Royce is to test a Trent engine with 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel as it seeks to reduce emissions on its next generation technology.

    The unblended sustainable aviation fuel will be used in ground tests which aim to confirm the fuel can “make a significant contribution to improving the environmental performance of gas turbine engines”.

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

    Rolls-Royce said the fuel had the potential to reduce net CO2 lifecycle emissions by more than 75 per cent compared to conventional jet fuel, with the possibility of further reductions in the future.

    The tests will also aim to confirm the fuel as a full ‘drop-in’ option, laying the groundwork for moving such fuels towards certification. At present, sustainable aviation fuel 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 Trent engine to be used in the tests – which will begin in the coming weeks – also incorporates ALECSys (Advanced Low Emissions Combustion System) lean-burn technology.

    ALECSys is part of the UltraFan next generation engine demonstrator programme, which Rolls-Royce says offers a 25 per cent fuel saving over the first generation of Trent engines.

    “Aviation is a tremendous force for good, keeping the world connected, but we have to do that sustainably,” said Rolls-Royce chief technology officer Paul Stein.

    “These tests aim to show that we can deliver real emissions reductions. If sustainable aviation fuel production can be scaled up – and aviation needs 500 million tonnes a year by 2050 – we can make a huge contribution for our planet.”