Rolls-Royce has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Alder Fuels, a clean tech developer and greencrude producer, to further test Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) as it makes the next step on its journey to commercial scalability. The SAF, which has been produced based on Alder Fuels’ proprietary greencrude technology, is being readied for global rollout as a drop-in replacement to petroleum-based jet fuel and will be a critical tool for decarbonizing the skies.
The testing, which will include flight tests on a Rolls-Royce Pearl engine, will evaluate the energy efficiency, emissions criteria, and low-carbon credentials of the SAF produced from Alder Greencrude. Rolls-Royce’s hopes to enable the sectors in which it operates to achieve net zero carbon by 2050.
Alder Fuels uses sustainable biomass such as regenerative grasses, forest residues, and agricultural waste products to create low-carbon greencrude that can be converted into a drop-in SAF using existing bio and petroleum refinery infrastructure. The process, which has been developed in close partnership with the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, can achieve greenhouse gas reductions of over 80% compared to fossil-based jet fuel.
The engine tests will assess the performance of AGC-derived SAF compared to fossil-based jet fuel to further support its performance as a drop-in replacement for traditional jet fuel and generate critical data for the development of a 100% SAF specification by ASTM International. In addition, the SAF will undergo a full lifecycle and criteria emissions assessment, and the data associated with this assessment will be transparently reported to advance global decarbonization efforts.
Rolls-Royce has previously committed to ensuring all its Trent and Business Aviation engines are compatible with 100% SAF by 2023. All Trent and Business Aviation engines are already certified and ready to operate on a 50% SAF blend with traditional fossil-based aviation jet fuel.