Rolls-Royce - Modernizing Green Aviation

Aviation emissions are a significant contributor to climate change as burning jet fuel releases carbon dioxide (CO2), a major greenhouse gas, and other non-CO2 warming effects due to the release of nitrogen oxides (NOx).

Rolls-Royce - Modernizing Green Aviation

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Therefore, finding ways to improve fuel efficiency while preserving and increasing flight ranges with better field performance and enhanced reliability is considered an important step to reduce the impact and carbon footprint of the aviation industry.

With the global population continuing to grow and the surging demand for increased mobility in a globalized world, human activity is accelerating the effects of climate change.

As a result, leaders in the aviation industry, such as Rolls-Royce, are committed to acting on climate change and playing a key role in reducing the aviation industry’s impact on the environment in an attempt to move towards a net-zero carbon economy.

This is where the  F130 turbofan engine comes in, an innovative solution to increase fuel efficiency and flight range while reducing emissions in unburned hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides and maintenance costs.

Greener Technological Solutions

One of the main features of the F130 engine is its advanced combustor technology. This technology aims to reduce the engine’s emissions by reducing nitrogen oxides. These gases are considered a large contributor to air pollution and a major cause of environmental concern.

The engine also includes a number of other advanced technologies, such as advanced materials and coatings, that help to reduce its environmental impact while improved service life will help reduce maintenance, therefore improving sustainability factors.

Rolls-Royce has invested around 600 million USD towards its modernization and technology programs as part of a commitment to offering greener technological solutions, which are nearing completion as state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques are helping pave the way for the scaled production of the F130 engine.

B-52 Modernization Program

Having already secured a contract with the United State Air Force to provide around 600 commercial F130 engines to modernize the B-52 fleet, the company has now announced that they have reached a new milestone in their development of the new turbofan engines.

For the first time in the development process, the F130 engines have been configured and tested in a dual-pod engine configuration at NASA’s Stennis Space Center to match the B-52 existing layout, which has eight engines set in four pods.

We are excited to begin this milestone testing program, the first step for what will be decades of successful engine operation for the United States Air Force B-52 fleet. Rolls-Royce continues to work very closely with the Air Force and Boeing to ensure the engine testing and integration process run smoothly.

Candice Bineyard, Director of Programs - Defense, Rolls-Royce

Proven. Efficient. Modern.

The latest rounds of testing mark a significant step in the move towards modernizing the United States Air Force’s B-52 fleet, as well as helping shape the future of the aviation industry at large. The company claims that the engine is “Proven. Efficient. Modern.”

[The F130] will result in higher fuel efficiency, reduced air refueling requirements, and significantly lower maintenance costs for the B-52 fleet. We look forward to sharing test results with the Air Force and Boeing as the test plan progresses at the NASA Stennis Space Center.

Candice Bineyard, Director of Programs - Defense, Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce continues to demonstrate ways of meeting the growing demands of aviation while acknowledging its commitment to reducing the environmental impact by ensuring technological advances become compatible with 2030 and 2050 global climate goals.

The F130 engines will be built and tested at Rolls-Royce’s Indianapolis facility, the largest production plant in the US, allowing the company to deliver world-class modern propulsion systems that take greener aviation to new heights.

References and Further Reading

Royce has begun testing F130 engines for the United States air force B-52 fleet at the NASA stennis space center. F130 engines were selected to replace existing engines as part of the B-52 Modernization Program, with over 600 engine deliveries expected. (2023) Rolls. Available at: https://www.rolls-royce.com/media/press-releases/2023/01-03-2023-rr-has-begun-testing-f-130-engines-for-united-states-air-force-b-52-fleet.aspx

Our pathway to net zero (2023) Rolls. Available at: https://www.rolls-royce.com/innovation/net-zero.aspx#/

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David J. Cross

Written by

David J. Cross

David is an academic researcher and interdisciplinary artist. David's current research explores how science and technology, particularly the internet and artificial intelligence, can be put into practice to influence a new shift towards utopianism and the reemergent theory of the commons.

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