Rolls-Royce to test sustainable aviation fuel made from Alder Greencrude
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 critical 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 (AGC) and is another testament to Rolls-Royce's ambition to play a fundamental role in enabling the sectors in which it operates achieve net-zero carbon by 2050.
“The use of sustainable aviation fuel as a low-emission solution and its global commercial deployment are essential to the decarbonization of medium- to long-haul air travel,” said Frank Moesta, an executive with Rolls-Royce. “While we are also working on electrification, hybrid-electric and hydrogen technologies as long-term alternatives, rapid decarbonization is within reach through this critical pathway. Through our partnership with Alder Fuels, we are taking the next steps on our journey to net zero and are committed supporters of the UN Race to Zero goal of 10 percent SAF use across aviation by 2030.”
Bryan Sherbacow, president and CEO of Alder Fuels, added, “At Alder, we are on a path to transform energy on the global stage and partnership is key to our vision. As a pioneer in both industrial technology and sustainable aviation, Rolls-Royce will play a leading role in decarbonizing the aerospace industry. Their name is synonymous with the best of engineering. Our hope is that this collaboration will not only mark an important milestone for the decarbonization of aviation, but that it will send a strong global signal to the market that the future of sustainable flight is here and the time to transition is now.”
Alder Fuels uses sustainable biomass such as regenerative grasses, forest residues and agricultural-waste products to create low-carbon AGC 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 U.S. DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory can achieve greenhouse-gas reductions beyond 80 percent 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 percent 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 percent SAF by 2023. All Trent and Business Aviation engines are already certified and ready to operate on a 50 percent SAF blend with traditional fossil-based aviation jet fuel.