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Tue, 26 October 2021

Rolls-Royce Boeing 747 Flying Testbed Completes Flight with 100% SAF in One Engine

(26 Oct 2021) Rolls-Royce, working with Boeing and World Energy, has carried out a successful test flight of its 747 Flying Testbed aircraft using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) on a Trent 1000 engine.

The aircraft flew from Tucson airport in Arizona, passing over New Mexico and Texas, with a Trent 1000 engine running solely on 100% SAF while the remaining three RB211 engines ran on standard jet fuel, arriving back at the airport three hours and 54 minutes later. Initial indications confirm there were no engineering issues, providing further proof of the fuels suitability for commercial use.

The flight was carried out in close collaboration with Boeing, which provided technical support and oversight on aircraft modifications and assurance the aircraft systems would operate as expected with 100% SAF. World Energy, the worlds first and Americas only commercial-scale SAF production company, provided the low-carbon fuel for the flight.

Rolls-Royce, working with Boeing and World Energy, has carried out a successful test flight of its 747 Flying Testbed aircraft using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) on a Trent 1000 engine. Click to enlarge.

Sheila Remes, Vice President of Environmental Sustainability, Boeing, said, It is an honour to partner with Rolls-Royce and World Energy on this 100% SAF flight. Its success further illustrates that SAF can fully replace conventional jet fuel over the long term and is a viable renewable energy solution to decarbonise aviation over the next 20-30 years.

Rolls-Royce has already carried out tests on its Trent XWB and Pearl engines, both on the ground and in the air, and recently confirmed that all of its Trent engines will be compatible with 100% SAF by 2023.

Aircraft are currently only certified to operate on a maximum of 50% SAF blended with conventional jet fuel, and Rolls-Royce continues to support efforts to certificate non-blended SAF. This is particularly important to support sustainability in long-distance air travel, which will require the power density of gas turbines for years to come.

The need to significantly increase the production of SAF was recognised recently by the US Biden administration with the launch of a Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge to produce three billion gallons of the fuel a year by 2030. This will form part of a wider aviation climate action plan to be released in the coming months.

The European Commission has also created a ReFuelEU Aviation proposal that would mandate the incorporation of SAF supplied at EU airports. This would increase to 63% by 2050.

Simon Burr, Rolls-Royce, Director Product Development and Technology Civil Aerospace, said: We believe in air travel as a force for cultural good, but we also recognise the need to take action to decarbonise our industry. This flight is another example of collaboration across the value chain to make sure all the aircraft technology solutions are in place to enable a smooth introduction of 100% SAF into our industry.

See also: Rolls-Royce's All-Electric Spirit of Innovation Aircraft Takes Off for First Time.

See latest Travel Industry News, Video Interviews, Pictures, Podcasts and other news regarding: Rolls-Royce, Boeing, SAF.

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