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Sustainability of aviation

As global population and prosperity continues to rise, so does the demand for power and mobility. Coupled with growing understanding of the potential impact of climate change, that future power must be low carbon. 

“Aviation connects people.” says Julia Gross, Head of Innovation at Rolls-Royce.

“Aviation ensures we can efficiently trade goods across the globe. It has been the backbone of our society for decades. So it’s our critical priority for the future to provide power that is more sustainable than it is today.”

Flying today is cleaner and quieter than it has ever been. The Rolls-Royce Trent XWB is the world’s most efficient aero engine in service today. But we must continue to reduce the environmental impact associated with aviation. 

Rolls-Royce believes there is a pathway towards net zero carbon emissions from aviation by 2050. 

To achieve this, Rolls-Royce is pioneering innovation on three fronts. Firstly by continuing to evolve engine technology, including developing lighter-weight composite materials, and improving the fuel efficiency of the engines. 

Julia explains. ‘Over the past 15 years, we’ve increased the efficiency of our large turbines by about 15%, and we’ll be able to reduce that by a further 10% with the introduction of our UltraFan engine.’

Secondly, working in partnership with the fuels industry to accelerate the availability of sustainable, lower carbon fuels. 

And thirdly, pioneering a third era of aviation: such as hybrid-electric and all-electric power. 

‘We are looking at demonstrating the capability of hybrid and fully electric aircraft in a very different way,’ Julia says. 

“With passenger numbers expected to grow, it remains our priority to invest in cleaner, safer and more sustainable technologies.”

The transition to a low carbon economy will be dependent on technological solutions. Rolls-Royce is leading the way in developing the technologies and capabilities to ensure that aviation is compatible with a net zero future. 

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