Rolls-Royce and Airbus studying 100% SAF in conventional jet engines

Aircraft are currently only allowed to use a 50% blend of SAF with regular kerosene fuel – the study looks to change this

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Rolls-Royce and Airbus have joined forces for a study into the impacts of 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) used in both engines of a commercial jet.

They claim this is the first study to have investigated the use of 100% SAF in both engines on a commercial passenger aircraft – using an Airbus A350 powered by Rolls-Royce engines.

Aircraft are currently only able to use a 50% blend of SAF with regular jet fuel and the study’s authors are hopeful the results – set to be published in 2023 – will help the sector move towards using 100% SAF as a standard.

The research looks at the emission levels and operational issues associated with using 100% SAF.

It claims that compared with conventional kerosene, SAF has a lower density but higher energy content per kg of fuel – making the aircraft more fuel efficient, as well as less environmentally impactful.

Simon Burr, Rolls-Royce Director of Product Development and Technology, said: “This research adds to tests we’ve already carried out on our engines, both on the ground and in the air, which have found no engineering obstacle to our engines running on 100% SAF.

“If we are to truly decarbonise long-haul air travel, then 100% SAF is a critical element and we are committed to supporting its certification for service.”

“Engines and fuel systems can be tested on the ground but the only way to gather the full set of emissions data necessary for this programme to be successful is to fly an aircraft in real conditions,” added Steven Le Moing, New Energy Programme Manager at Airbus.

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