Rolls-Royce tests 100% biofuel in latest business jet engine

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Engineers at Rolls-Royce have conducted the first tests of 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel in a business jet engine.

The testing was conducted on the aero-engine manufacturer’s latest business aviation engine being developed, the Pearl 700, in Dahlewitz, Germany, shortly after unblended Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) was successfully used for the first time in engine ground tests on a Trent 1000 engine in Derby, UK.

The test demonstrated that the Rolls-Royce’s current engines for large civil and business jet applications can operate with 100% SAF as a full drop-in option, laying the groundwork for moving this type of fuel towards certification. At present, SAF is only certified for blends of up to 50% with conventional jet fuel and can be used on all current Rolls-Royce engines.

The SAF that was used in the tests was produced by low-carbon fuel specialist World Energy in Paramount, California, sourced by Shell Aviation and delivered by SkyNRG. According to Rolls-Royce the biofuel has the potential to reduce net carbon dioxide lifecycle emissions by more than 75% compared to conventional jet fuel, with the possibility of further reductions in future.

Dr Joerg Au, chief engineer – business aviation and engineering director for Rolls-Royce Deutschland said, “Sustainable aviation fuels have the potential to significantly reduce the carbon emissions of our engines. 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 engine is being developed for the Gulfstream G700 aircraft expected to enter service in 2022. The engine combines the Advance2 engine core with a low-pressure system to enable an 8% increase in take-off thrust at 18,250 lbs compared to the Rolls-Royce’s BR725 business jet engine.

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Rolls-Royce has tested 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel on its Pearl 700 business aviation engine (image: Rolls-Royce)

According to Rolls-Royce the Pearl 700  offers a 12% better thrust-to-weight ratio and 5% higher efficiency, while maintaining low noise and emissions performance. The engine also features a 51.8in blisked fan, a high pressure compressor with a market-leading pressure ratio of 24:1 and six blisked stages, an ultralow emissions combustor, a two-stage shroudless high pressure turbine and an enhanced four-stage low pressure turbine that is one of the most efficient and compact in the industry.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before eventually becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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