Virgin Atlantic and Rolls-Royce have announced the success of a ground test using a Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) blend on a Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine. 

Credit: Virgin Atlantic

The ground test marks a key milestone in the run up to the British carrier operating a Boeing 787 Dreamliner across the Atlantic using only SAF in November of this year.

Although according to the carrier, the realization of flight taking to the skies will be a challenging task ‘requiring cross industry collaboration and dedicated project teams working on the research, testing and operations to make it happen.’

While current SAF fuel standards allow for only a 50% SAF blend in commercial jet engines, Virgin Atlantic aims to demonstrate the potential of SAF as a 100% replacement for jet fuel.

The project is jointly funded by the Department for Transport, and is made up of a consortium led by Virgin Atlantic, that includes Rolls Royce, Boeing, University of Sheffield, Imperial College London and Rocky Mountain Institute. 

“The 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel transatlantic flight will be a historic moment in aviation’s roadmap to decarbonisation. Alongside fleet transformation, SAF is the most readily available way for our industry to decarbonise, but currently there’s not enough supply and without it and the radical collaboration required to produce it, we can’t meet our 2030 targets. We need UK government support to create a UK SAF industry to allow for every single flight out of the UK to operate with 100% SAF – if we make it, we can fly it,” said Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic.

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Tags: airlines, sustainability, sustainable aviation fuel, virgin atlantic