Rolls-Royce, Gulfstream trial 100% SAF-powered business jet 
December 19, 2022
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  • Aircraft enginemaker Rolls-Royce, along with Gulfstream Aerospace, has concluded the test flight of a business jet using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). 

    For this test, the companies used ultralong-range business jet BR725-powered Gulfstream G650 twin-jet at Gulfstream’s headquarters in Savannah, Georgia. 

    The trial demonstrated that the exiting Rolls-Royce engines for business jet and large civil applications can be powered with 100% SAF as a full “drop-in” option. 

    Additionally, the test creates a platform for moving this type of fuel towards certification. 

    Rolls-Royce Deutschland business aviation chief engineer and engineering director Dr Joerg Au said: “Sustainable aviation fuels are essential for the decarbonisation of the skies, as they have the potential to significantly reduce the carbon emissions of aviation and we have already proved they can be used as a drop-in fuel to power existing engines. 

    “This flight test with Gulfstream is another proof point that demonstrates the compatibility of our engines with SAF, bringing us another important step closer to enabling our customers to achieve net zero carbon emissions.” 

    Currently, SAF is certified for blends of up to 50% with conventional jet fuel and can be used on all current Rolls-Royce engines. 

    The SAF used for the test contained hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) and was produced using waste fat and waste plant oils by World Energy in Paramount, California, and Synthesised Aromatic Kerosene (SAK) was created using waste plant-based sugars by Wisconsin-based Virent. 

    The companies claim that the SAF produced has the potential to reduce net CO2 lifecycle emissions by about 80% compared to conventional jet fuel. 

    Gulfstream president Mark Burns said: “At Gulfstream, leading our industry closer to decarbonization is a long-standing priority, and testing, evaluating and promoting new developments in SAF takes us another step closer to that goal. 

    “We are grateful for our partnership with Rolls‑Royce to be able to demonstrate yet another milestone in these efforts.”