Sunday, December 5, 2021

Rolls-Royce ramps up commitment to net zero aviation

Rolls-Royce has joined with Airbus and Shell to call for further collaboration across the aviation sector and governments to achieve net zero goals.

Ahead of the forthcoming COP26 climate conference, which is due to take place in Glasgow on 12th November, the three industrial giants have said they want to see “greater ambition” to scale-up vital production of sustainable aviation fuels and exceed the UN Race to Zero goals for aviation.

Under the UN’s goals the current ‘breakthrough’ required for the decarbonisation of aviation is to achieve a minimum of 10% sustainable aviation fuel (SA)F use by 2030 with the proportion not reaching 100% earlier than 2050.

But Rolls-Royce, Airbus and Shell are investing in technology that could enable that to happen sooner.

Warren East, Chief Executive at Rolls-Royce, says: “At Rolls-Royce, we believe in the positive, transformative potential of technology. We believe we have the technology enablers to make long-haul aviation compatible with net zero carbon.”

As part of its commitment, Rolls-Royce has announced that by 2023 all its ‘Trent’ engines, used across a range of long-haul aircraft, will have been proven compatible with 100% SAF.

That builds on its earlier commitment to test Trent models currently in production and means that within two years Rolls-Royce will have proven that net zero carbon operation is possible with about 40% of the world’s long-haul aircraft engines.

All Airbus aircraft are currently certified to operate on up to a 50% blend of SAF mixed with kerosene and Airbus has the ambition to achieve certification of 100% unblended SAF by the end of this decade.

By 2025, Shell alone has committed to produce two million tonnes of SAF per year – more than 10 times the total amount of SAF produced globally today.

By the end of the decade, at least 10% of Shell’s global aviation fuel sales will be SAF.

Warren East, Chief Executive, Rolls-Royce, said: “Flying generates between 2% and 3% of global emissions, but as easier-to-abate sectors decarbonise that proportion will increase, so shortening aviation’s journey to net zero with action in the opening phase of this ‘Decisive Decade’ would be a huge win for the world.

“However, we will only create the focus and momentum required to achieve this if we ratchet our collective ambition beyond the current target of achieving 10% SAF usage by 2030.

“We need partners who share our vision for the use of SAFs as a solution for reducing emissions on long-haul flight, to help all of us successfully transition to a net zero carbon future.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We’re leading the world when it comes to green aviation – providing £18 million to build first-of-their-kind production plants in the UK and are consulting on ways to ensure sustainable aviation fuel is blended into our supplies from 2025.

“Rolls-Royce’s announcement builds on this, moving us one step closer to realising our ambitious net zero targets, securing a sustainable future for the sector and creating green jobs in the process.”

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