Rolls-Royce: Clean Aviation projects for greener flights

Cross-section of Rolls-Royce engine

As part of Horizon Europe’s Clean Aviation programme, Rolls-Royce is using UKRI guarantee funding to take part in six projects that will help turn our skies green.

In 2021, the aviation industry produced 720Mt of CO2. That’s the equivalent of 140 million homes’ electricity use for a year. COVID-19 lockdowns and flight bans might have suggested that emissions from air travel and transport were in decline, but they are expected to return to their pre-COVID peak within a few years.

Horizon Europe’s Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking is one of several programmes underway in Europe and America to help get the air industry on course for net zero by 2050.

The programme aims to enable the deployment of new aircraft from 2035 that will reduce emissions by at least 30%, thus, enabling the replacement of three-quarters of the world’s civil aviation fleet by 2050. Combined with the use of sustainable aviation fuel and hydrogen, this will enable net CO2 reductions of up to 90%.

Leading on three projects to deliver clean aviation

Rolls-Royce is a partner in six of the Clean Aviation projects, acting as the lead in three.

The Hydrogen Engine Architecture Virtually Engineered Novelly (HEAVEN) project will develop Rolls-Royce’s existing UltraFan architecture and related technologies for civil aviation, by integrating hydrogen and hybrid-electric technology into the platform.

Hybrid Electric propulsion system for regional AiRcrafT (HE-ART) will demonstrate a hybrid-electric thermal turboprop and develop an optimised hybrid propulsion system, both for regional aircraft.

Finally, the Consortium for the AdVent of aero-ENgine Demonstration and aircraft Integration Strategy with Hydrogen (CAVENDISH) will integrate liquid hydrogen systems into an existing engine for ground testing. CAVENDISH will also explore other ways of integrating liquid hydrogen, for example, by using a dual-fuel combustor system.

Guaranteed funding to Horizon Europe projects

The Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking is one of many parts of Horizon Europe that the UK continues to participate in. During the delay to UK association to the EU funding programme, UK Research and Innovation is guaranteeing funding to UK researchers and innovators who apply successfully to Horizon Europe.

Rolls-Royce’s Head of EU and International R&T Programmes, Gary Way, said:

The technical evaluation and impacts of the proposal have already been covered by the EU through its evaluation process. So the UKRI process is dotting i’s and crossing t’s, making sure there’s a common understanding of what is being asked for from a funding perspective, and that there is a consistency between what was in the proposal and what is in the final grant agreement.

There have been a lot of resources and support from UKRI. They are very quick to answer questions and respond to issues if people have concerns.

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