Rolls-Royce tests 100% SAF in business jet engine


Rolls-Royce has conducted the first tests of 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in a business jet engine. The tests on the company’s latest business aviation engine in development, the Pearl 700, come weeks after unblended SAF was successfully used for the first time in engine ground tests on a Trent 1000 in Derby, UK.

The firm said the test demonstrates its engines for large civil and business jets can operate with 100% SAF as a full “drop-in” option. The next step is certification. At present, SAF is only certified for blends of up to 50% with conventional jet fuel.

The SAF that was used in the tests was produced by World Energy, sourced by Shell Aviation and delivered by SkyNRG. This unblended fuel has the potential to reduce net CO2 lifecycle emissions by more than 75% compared with conventional jet fuel.

Dr Joerg Au, chief engineer, Business Aviation and Engineering director Rolls-Royce Deutschland, said: “Sustainable aviation fuels have the potential to significantly reduce the carbon emissions of our engines and combining this potential with the extraordinary performance of our Pearl engine family brings us another important step closer to enabling our customers to achieve net zero carbon emissions.”

The Pearl 700 combines the Advance2 engine core, with a new low-pressure system, resulting in an 8% increase in take-off thrust at 18,250lb compared with the BR725 engine. The engine also offers a 12% better thrust-to-weight ratio and 5% higher efficiency.

The engine includes a highly-efficient 51.8 inch blisked fan (1.31m), a high pressure compressor with a market-leading pressure ratio of 24:1 and six blisked stages, an ultra-low emissions combustor, a two-stage shroudless high pressure turbine and an enhanced four-stage low pressure turbine.

Elsewhere, SkyNRG, which o delivered the SAF to Rolls-Royce, has partnered with VistaJet to supply SAF at all its facilities globally. The partnership is offering all VistaJet customers around the world access to sustainable aviation fuel. This, it hopes, will promote substantial reductions in aviation carbon emissions, and increase stable demand.

Meanwhile, Gulfstream Aerospace has extended the terms of its SAF contract from World Fuel Services for an additional five years through to April 2025. The OEM has now taken delivery of more than 1.2m gallons of sustainable aviation fuel SAF from World Fuel since the two firms partnered in 2015.