Rolls-Royce in £750m Chinese carbon cutting deal

Rolls-Royce has signed a £750m deal with China Eastern Airlines in which it will aim to slash the aircraft fleet’s CO2 emissions by 190,000 tonnes in its first year. The […]

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By Kelvin Ross

Rolls-Royce has signed a £750m deal with China Eastern Airlines in which it will aim to slash the aircraft fleet’s CO2 emissions by 190,000 tonnes in its first year.

The carbon-cutting initiative is part of a landmark contract revealed today in which Rolls Royce will also supply and fit jet engines for the Chinese carrier.

The low carbon partnership will see Rolls-Royce provide a fuel management service for the airline’s fleet of more than 300 aircraft. It will also supply enhanced performance kits to upgrade the engines on 20 of China Eastern Airlines’ planes.

China Eastern Airlines’ chairman Liu Shaoyong said: “We look forward to working with Rolls-Royce through our Carbon Partnership, which we anticipate will reduce fuel consumption by at least two per cent in its first year alone, the equivalent of a 190,000-tonne reduction in CO2, which equates to the amount of CO2 produced by 80,000 cars over the same period.”

The deal was signed today in the presence of Prime Minister David Cameron, who is in China leading a government delegation on trade talks.

Among those ministers on the trip is Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, who has been talking up the potential ‘green’ trade links between the UK and China.

In a speech given in Tianjin, Mr Huhne said of the low carbon industry: “China’s market is the second biggest in the world, and among the top 10, the UK’s is the fastest growing. So on a purely national level, this visitor and his host each stand to gain from allowing this emerging sector to blossom.”

Mr Huhne highlighted the input of British expertise in many Chinese initiatives, but added: “This is no one-way relationship: the UK needs some £200bn of investment in new power plants by 2020 to replace our ageing generators and meet our ambitious emissions targets.”

He added: “We currently have the world’s biggest offshore wind capacity. That record will not stand long.” And it could be the Chinese that snatch away that record. Last month a report predicted that China’s wind power capacity will increase more than five-fold in the next 10 years.

Mr Huhne also talked of European/Chinese alliances. “The EU and China can become real partners in low carbon development. It is a matter of scale. As the world’s largest economy-in-waiting and the world’s largest single market, we have considerable power if we work together.”

He added: “The potential for greater EU-China strategic co-operation on climate change is clear. We can drive down the costs of new technologies, build the green industries of the future and create millions of high-tech jobs.”