Today Rolls-Royce, Airbus and Shell have announced that they aim to accelerate the transition of long-haul aviation towards net zero emissions. Sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) are a hot topic right now and key to get aviation towards net zero emissions. Under the UN’s Race to Zero goals the current ‘breakthrough’ required for the decarbonisation of aviation is to achieve a minimum of 10% SAF use by 2030 with the proportion not reaching 100% earlier than 2050. Rolls-Royce, Airbus and Shell are investing in the technology that could enable that to happen sooner. Here’s how:
Rolls-Royce today 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 2 million tonnes of SAF per year. That is 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. Shell is already building one of Europe’s biggest biofuels plants in the Netherlands, with production due to start in 2024.