Shell
Image credit: Shell

A new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between British-Dutch multinational oil and gas company Shell and British multinational aerospace firm Rolls-Royce aims to accelerate the decarbonisation of the aviation industry.

The two companies will work together to develop new solutions and enhance existing technologies to ensure the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in aircraft engines. The collaboration aims to shape policies supporting a net-zero pathway for the aviation industry.

The MoU will expand and accelerate several existing areas of cooperation between Shell and Rolls-Royce such as advancing the use of SAF. This includes Rolls-Royce’s new SAFinity service, for which Shell is the exclusive SAF supplier, and working together on demonstrating the use of 100% SAF as a full “drop-in” solution. This will see the companies explore opportunities to help progress the use of 100% SAF towards certification, building on Rolls-Royce’s ongoing 100% SAF testing programme.

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Shell and Rolls-Royce will also work together to achieve their own 2050 net-zero emissions goals. This will include both companies contributing technologies and expertise to help reduce operational emissions. Shell will assess opportunities to support Rolls-Royce in reducing travel emissions through the supply of SAF, while Rolls-Royce will lend its technical expertise to advise Shell in its new fuels development, as well as innovative low carbon energy alternatives for new aircraft and power systems.

Anna Mascolo, president, Shell Aviation, said: “Being from different parts of the aviation value chain means Rolls-Royce and Shell bring complementary expertise, experiences and ideas to the table. Wide-ranging cooperation can drive new solutions that will help the aviation industry and our customers navigate a pathway to net zero.”

Paul Stein, chief technology officer at Rolls-Royce, adds: “We believe that working together on these aims can deliver benefits for both the development of new innovations as well as collaborating to find ways to unlock the net carbon emissions reduction potential of technology that is already in use today. SAFs will not only power large aircraft and business aviation, but also hybrid electric Urban Air Mobility (‘Flying taxis’) and the forthcoming generation of hybrid fixed-wing city hoppers, which is why we place such importance on the ramp-up of SAF adoption across the industry.”

As part of the MoU, Rolls-Royce and Shell will assess broader opportunities for cooperation across aviation as well as infrastructure in other mobility sectors such as shipping and rail.