Under a plan first revealed two years ago, Rolls-Royce and British Airways have invited fuel suppliers to participate in tests to evaluate alternative aviation fuels in a study to seek practical alternatives to kerosene, the current standard fuel. The two companies have requested samples for possible laboratory and rig trials and, ultimately, tests on a Rolls-Royce RB211-524G engine from a British Airways Boeing 747-400.
Funding will come from the U.S. Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (Cleen) program, the Federal Aviation Administration’s principal next-generation environmental effort to demonstrate new technologies, procedures and sustainable alternative jet fuels. If sufficient volumes of candidate fuels are available, tests would be carried out on a Rolls-Royce indoor engine testbed in the UK.
Candidate fuels for consideration are expected to be derived from
non-petroleum sources, be used neat or blended to meet requirements and have potential for a better overall environmental footprint than kerosene. They also must not unduly compete with food production, cause land or water stress, have potential adverse effects on eco-systems or lead to deforestation.
Testing the engine in a Rolls-Royce testbed enables more accurate data to be gathered in a controlled and consistent environment. The trial aims to explore fuel types different from those currently approved or undergoing certification.