Investment in product fuel-efficiency is strongly aligned with our customers’ cost and environmental requirements and so it represents the most compelling route for reducing the overall greenhouse gas footprint of our products. Since the first commercial jet engines were produced in the 1950s, our engineering expertise has helped reduce aircraft fuel burn by 70 per cent and noise by 75 per cent. We build on our research and technology investments to help us design clean, reliable and efficient aerospace, marine and power-generation products. This is why two thirds of our investment in R&D is aimed at improving the environmental performance of our products and services.
Analysis shows that over the life of one of our large civil aircraft engines, well over 99 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions are the result of fuel-burn while the engine is in service.
We embed environmental requirements into the detailed specifications defined for all our products. Fuel efficiency, emissions and noise are the three key areas of focus in this respect.
As part of our business model, we supply aftermarket services to the customers that use our products. Our focus on continually improving environmental performance is a key component of these services. For example, we remove and recycle end-of-life material from gas turbines during overhaul. There are rare elements present in some of our high performance alloys and we aim to recover as much as is practicable.
The European aviation industry has agreed two sets of challenging goals for reducing aviation's environmental impact. Goals for 2020 were agreed by ACARE (Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe), while more recently the European Commission's High Level Group on Aviation Research has agreed an even more challenging set for 2050, known as Flightpath 2050. Similar goals are in place in the USA.
|2020 (ACARE)||Flightpath 2050|
|CO2 emissions per passenger-km||-50%||-75%|
|Perceived aircraft noise||-50%||-65%|
These interlinked environmental goals present a highly complex design problem. The means of reducing one impact, such as CO2, can lead to increasing challenges in other areas, such as other emissions or noise. However, while these goals are challenging, we are making progress towards achieving them. We have significant technology-acquisition programmes in place to ensure that our future products are cleaner, quieter and more efficient.
Addressing challenging regulations
Emissions from ships are in the environmental spotlight and the industry is subject to progressively more stringent legislation. This includes a global cap on fuel sulphur content, potential CO2 emission 'cap and trade', NOx emission controls and future regulations on particulate emissions.
Against this background we have made considerable technology and product development investments, particularly in LNG-fuelled engines. This investment is designed to ensure our products deliver 'best in class' environmental performance. This, coupled with our on-going R&D investment plan, makes us well placed to meet the regulations that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will gradually introduce over the coming years. For example, we will see CO2 regulation via the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan and Energy Efficiency Design/Operational Indices, Tier III NOx regulations, and 'an order of magnitude' reduction in SOx emissions.
The global energy industry is a key driver of economic growth. It is characterised by increasingly tough regulation of CO2, NOx and SOx emissions in many parts of the world and by fuel price pressures globally. These factors have driven strong demand for our efficient, clean and flexible advanced technology solutions. These are supported by focused long-term horizon R&D programmes and reflect the 40-year plus life-cycle of our products.
Our gas turbine and compressor technologies power offshore oil platforms around the world and transport oil and gas through 35 pipelines in 24 countries. In the oil and gas industry, we minimise environmental impact by ensuring the highest level of reliability and availability of our aero-derivative gas turbines.
Our gas power generation technology solutions ensure that reliable, dependable and flexible electricity supplies are efficiently met, without comprising emissions performance. Our products have industry-leading fuel efficiencies with Dry Low Emissions (DLE) options to minimise carbon monoxide, CO2 and NOx emissions.
We have also established a strong position in the civil nuclear power sector. Increasingly, more countries are recognising the importance of nuclear in providing a secure energy supply and in addressing global climate change. We are continuing to invest in our nuclear capabilities to support low CO2, NOx and SOx power generation.
We have formed a joint venture partnership with Daimler called Rolls-Royce Power Systems Holding GmbH. This company owns Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG, who are a leading supplier of high efficiency engines and propulsion systems has been building robust diesel engines and system solutions for drives and decentralised power generation for more than a century.
Its products lead the way in terms of energy efficiency, low fuel consumption and low emissions, both to the benefit of our customers and the environment. Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG also develops associated key technologies such as turbocharging, fuel injection, exhaust gas recirculation, engine management and exhaust after-treatment in-house.
In addition, the business works on alternative drive technologies and began research into environmentally-friendly gas engines a number of decades ago. These engines are able to generate power from natural gas, biogas, and sewage gas or landfill gas.
Planning is underway for these environmentally-friendly gas engines to also be used in mobile applications – initially ships and then at a later stage in mining vehicles and railway locomotives.
Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG's research activities also cover innovative technologies of the future such as hybrid systems for rail vehicles.
But sustainability does not stop with the product sale for Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG. Its Value Exchange Remanufacturing Programme is designed to prolong the service life of its products even further. Worn engines and engine components are taken back and give a new lease of life in a thorough industrial overhaul. Customers and the environment benefit alike, since remanufacturing enables sparing use of raw materials and energy, benefitting customers and the environment. A deposit scheme for returned engines and components further motivates customers to trade in their worn spare parts, so that the remanufacturing cycle can be sustained.