Rolls-Royce backs ‘green fuel’ with new memo

Rolls-Royce has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Alder Fuels, a clean tech developer and greencrude producer, to test sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) further as it makes the critical next step on its journey to commercial scalability. The “green fuel” 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). This is another testament to Rolls-Royce’s ambition to play a fundamental role in enabling the sectors in which it operates to achieve net zero carbon by 2050.

Frank Moesta, Rolls-Royce SVP for strategy and future programs in business aviation, shared, “The use of SAF as a low-emission solution and its global commercial deployment is essential to the decarbonization of medium to long-haul air travel. 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% SAF use across aviation by 2030.”

Green fuel: From natural biomass to SAF

Alder Fuels is powering the global clean energy transformation and race to net zero by converting natural biomass into low-carbon to carbon-negative Alder Greencrude (AGC). This greencrude can be converted into SAF, other low-carbon fuels, and chemicals using existing global refinery equipment and infrastructure.

“At Alder, we are on a path to transform energy on the global stage, and partnership is key to our vision. Rolls-Royce will lead in decarbonizing the aerospace industry as a pioneer in industrial technology and sustainable aviation. Their name is synonymous with the best of engineering,” said Bryan Sherbacow, Alder Fuels president and CEO. “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 Alder Greencrude (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 US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, can achieve greenhouse gas reductions of over 80% compared to fossil-based jet fuel.

The engine tests will not only 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, but also generate critical data for developing 100% SAF specification by ASTM International. In addition, the SAF will undergo an entire lifecycle and criteria emissions assessment, and the data associated with this 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% SAF by 2023. All Trent and Business Aviation engines are already certified and ready to operate on a 50% SAF blend with traditional fossil-based aviation jet fuel. (Story and photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce and Alder Fuels)