The airplane took off from Tucson, Arizona, and returned three hours and 54 minutes later, with one Trent 1000 engine running on 100% SAF while the other three RB211 engines ran on regular jet fuel. Initial indications show there were no engineering concerns, proving the fuel’s commercial suitability.
As a pioneer in 100% SAF, Rolls-Royce has already validated its Trent XWB and Pearl engines on the ground and in the air. Last week, it revealed that all Trent engines will be 100% SAF compatible by 2023 and asked for greater ambition and collaboration across the aviation sector and with governments to enable long-haul aviation to transition to net zero ahead of the UN Race Zero goals.
Rolls-Royce continues to assist attempts to certify non-blended SAF. This is critical for long-distance air travel, which will require gas turbine power density for years to come.
Boeing provided technical support and control on aircraft changes, ensuring the aircraft systems operated as intended with 100% SAF. World Energy, the world’s first and only commercial-scale SAF producer, supplied the low-carbon fuel.
The US Biden administration recently launched a Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge to produce three billion gallons of fuel annually by 2030. This will be part of a larger aviation climate action plan coming soon. The European Commission has also proposed ReFuelEU Aviation, which would require EU airports to use SAF. By 2050, this would rise to 63%.