November 30, 2021

First Twin-Engine, 100 percent SAF Test on Commercial Passenger Jet Shows Promise

Airbus and Rolls-Royce report positive initial results using all-sustainable aviation fuel in an A350 with Trent XWB engines.

For the first time, researchers are studying the effectiveness of burning 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in both engines of a commercial passenger jet. Researchers from Airbus, Rolls-Royce, the German research center DLR and SAF producer Neste, reported promising early results Monday.

In-flight emissions testing began earlier this year using an Airbus A350 powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.

Initial results of the “world-first study” show “no engineering obstacle” to running on 100 percent SAF, according to an Airbus statement. Currently, aircraft are allowed to operate on a 50 percent mix of SAF and conventional jet fuel.

Researchers reported that SAF released fewer particulates than conventional kerosene under all tested engine operating conditions. This initial success points to SAF’s potential to reduce aviation’s “climate impact” and improve the air quality around airports.

– Flying Mag, Thom Patterson

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