Gulfstream G650 Makes Demo Flight Fueled Entirely On SAF

The flight demonstrated that Rolls-Royce engines can operate on 100 percent SAF as a "drop-in" option, the manufacturer said.

A Gulfstream G650 with twin Rolls-Royce powerplants in special testing mode recently departed Savannah, Georgia, fueled on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), according to the aircraft manufacturer.

The flight advances both Gulfstream’s and Rolls-Royce’s sustainability goals, and also marks the first time an ultralong-range business jet flight by an original equipment manufacturer was fueled completely by SAF, according to Gulfstream.

The G650 jet is powered by twin Rolls-Royce BR725 engines.

“At Gulfstream, leading our industry closer to decarbonization is a long-standing priority, and testing, evaluating and promoting new developments in SAF takes us another step closer to that goal,” Mark Burns, president of Gulfstream, said in a statement. “We are grateful for our partnership with Rolls-Royce to be able to demonstrate yet another milestone in these efforts.”

The SAF used during the flight was produced by World Energy of Paramount, California and Virent Inc. of Wisconsin, and composed of waste fat, plant oils and plant-based sugars, according to Gulfstream.

Currently Rolls-Royce engines are certified to only use SAF blends up to 50 percent along traditional jet fuel.

The test, however, demonstrated that current Rolls-Royce engines can operate on 100 percent SAF as a “drop-in” option and “lays the groundwork for moving this type of fuel towards certification,” according to the engine manufacturer.

“Sustainable aviation fuels are essential for the decarbonisation of the skies, as they have the potential to significantly reduce the carbon emissions of aviation and we have already proved they can be used as a drop-in fuel to power existing engines,” Joerg Au, chief engineer and business aviation and engineering director for  Rolls-Royce Deutschland, said in a statement.

“This flight test with Gulfstream is another proof point that demonstrates the compatibility of our engines with SAF, bringing us another important step closer to enabling our customers to achieve net zero carbon emissions.”

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