Rolls-Royce Tests SAF On Trent 1000


Rolls-Royce has successfully completed a test flight of its Trent 1000 engine using 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The flight, which used the company’s 747 flying test bed aircraft, lasted three hours and 54 minutes. According to Rolls-Royce, initial results from the test “confirm there were no engineering issues.”

“We believe in air travel as a force for cultural good, but we also recognise the need to take action to decarbonise our industry,” said Simon Burr, Rolls-Royce director for civil aerospace product development and technology. “This flight is another example of collaboration across the value chain to make sure all the aircraft technology solutions are in place to enable a smooth introduction of 100% SAF into our industry.”

Conducted out of Arizona’s Tucson airport, the test was undertaken in partnership with Boeing and World Energy. Rolls-Royce has also carried out ground and air testing of its Trent XWB and Pearl engines using 100 percent SAF. The company says that all of its Trent engines will be compatible with 100 percent SAF by 2023.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. It seems that every year someone demonstrates this. I’m not sure what they are trying to prove?

    Even more curious, in my (admittedly not extensive) research, ‘sustainable’ fuels like this seem to be rather more theoretical than real – ‘it can be made from plastic waste, cooking oil, food scraps, etc’. CAN be. Isn’t. Nor can I find any trace of the infrastructure or sources to produce enough to be significant. Nor a discussion of the energy INPUT required to produce these fuels from such diffuse feedstocks.

    • I agree. This seems part and parcel of the synthetic Jet A1 experiments many years ago. In 2006, the US Air Force was to test synthetic fuel on a B-52, with just two engines using it. I’m not sure if anything came of it.
      I suspect the engineers are having a great time with these experiments. However, there appears to be no shortage of good old crude oil, thus it’ll be the basis for many years to come.
      The electrical power project might be the same – saving the planet one battery at a time, when the mining of exotic metals, their beneficiation and transport across the globe is performed very well by fossil-fuelled machines.

      • The idea is to come up with an alternative *before* we run out of crude oil. And we *will* run out at some point; it is not an unlimited resource. It doesn’t matter if that will be in 10 years or 1000 years, because we don’t know how long it will take to come up with an alternative. Better to start now and finish early than start late and run out of crude oil before a solution is found.

        • The objective is to pander to the scam that humans are causing runaway climate warming that isn’t happening and can’t happen.

          (Because the ‘saturation effect’ of overlap of absorption-emission spectra of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and dihydrogen monoxide limits temperature rise from increased CO2 to a small amount most of which has already been realized.)

          It’s a deliberate anti-human push from a shortage mentality.

          • OK, Keith, I’ll bite. What is your source that the temperature rise from CO2 has mostly already been realised? You often post this here, with a reference to the term ‘saturation effect’.

            Here’s a source which says that your take is wrong. “the fact that CO2 is so abundant and is therefore band saturated does not mean that the Earth is insensitive to adding more CO2.” Source: lecture “The Band Saturation Effect”, in University of Chicago course “Global Warming I: The Science and Modeling of Climate Change”, offered by Coursera, lecture/global-warming/the-band-saturation-effect-CnAIV [URL obscured for anti-spam reasons]

        • You went off on a tangent – note the words “…take action to decarbonise our industry..” which is neo-Marxist code for the anti-fossil fuels scam.

          Note the ‘sustainable’ word in SAF, which is neo-Marxist code for the shortage mentality that comes from denial of the effectiveness of the human mind for life. I recommend The Doomsday Myth for history of shortages that did not occur, even when backed by government force such as NW Europe tried with rubber.

          (Somehow ‘SAF’ whatever that actually is, is supposed to reduce production of carbon dioxide by humans.
          Volcanos are the next challenge. :-o)

  2. R-R should instead be working on engine efficiency and reliability.

    Having an engine come apart in flight is not reliability.

    Efficiency reduces cost of flying.

    There is ample crude oil in the world, more being discovered all the time – such as the huge field offshore Brazil. But someone has to work to extract it and to refine it and to distribute it – thus cost.

    • Maybe not now, but it IS a finite resource that won’t last until the end of time. There’s literally no harm in testing alternatives to using fuel based on crude oil. History has shown that when humans treat a limited resource as unlimited, eventually they exhaust that resource to nothingness.

      • It already has been tested. Over and over. Gas turbines will run on almost anything, so it is not a surprise to anyone that this works.
        The real debate is at the source of said combustible liquid. Large-scale ‘sustainable’ fuels tend to be energy NEGATIVE once the entire process is considered.

      • At whose cost?

        Apparently R-R in this case, which is their choice – their engine, their aircraft.

        Premature IMO because technology will change.

        OTOH oppressive fiefdoms may want a backup for when they get embargoed – Nationalsozialistiche Germany had a way to make gasoline, South Africa picked up on that information when it was embargoed later.

        Testing certainly needed, look at the fiasco with ‘synthetic lubricating oil’ which cokes at lower temperatures than oil from crude oil. (Synthetic is made from natural gas.)

        Airline industry learned about that decades ago, German car makers learned about it early in this century – it cost them customers when dealers did not heed factory instructions such as larger oil filter and inspection for premature wear would not commit in advance to pay for premature wear. I know eurosnobs who dumped VW in favour of Japanese makes because of that.

        BTW, why the push for airliners now, per your logic shouldn’t it first hbe done on diesel engines in ground vehicles?

        • The alleged “free markets” don’t really exist. Government subsidies in the form of tax break/shelters, legislation brought about by lobbying, legislators writing laws in response to lobbyists and, basically, accepting payments (illegal but still practiced). And this is a world issue. China isn’t exactly a “free” country, yet they have some sort of capitalism there.
          The issue has never been capitalism versus socialism, but rather the concentration of power amongst a few folks, who typically tend to be sociopathic and interested pretty much in increasing and holding onto their personal power, and everyone else be damned. This situation exists in all countries and in all organizations. Until the United States formally stated it in the constitution, church and state were, if not one and the same, awfully close. Again a concentration of power in the hands of the few.
          And that is the threat to our democracy that exists now. Not a threat to capitalism, but a threat to individual freedom versus the concentration of power in organizations and people who seem to be insulating themselves from being dislodged from their positions of power. In short, dictatorships. So what else is new? I agree with you, that the news frames the shortage of fuels as crises and that the climate changes we are seeing are also framed as crises.
          On the other hand, natural resources are not unlimited. The Earth is finite. And, the climate is warming. People can say it’s not due to human behaviors, even though it does seem to correlate with “the industrial revolution” which is based upon the burning of fossil fuels (wood, coal, oil, and gas). As for human survival, yes the species will continue. What the quality of life will be, seems to be a little less certain. Just ask the folks in northern California, or along the eastern and southeastern seaboard. All I can think of is Oliver Hardy’s repetitive quote to Stan Laurel, “Another fine mess, you’ve gotten us into”…although I can’t guarantee that is an absolute translation, but it’s pretty damn close! 🙂

  3. Notice it is always America and Europe that needs to stop fossil fuels and cease so called man made Global Warming….sorry. China, India and the rest of the Asian continent are the biggest contributors, i.e. Communism, yet we have NO program to reign them in. WHY? Because it is “Them” that are preaching their gospel to us. Stop “producing” , stop “growing”, stop “developing”, stop being prosperous, so we can defeat you.

    Game Over.