In pursuit of better power for a changing world we apply our knowledge and technology to developing the best solutions for our customers and the environment. Our scientific and technological expertise, coupled with a strong tradition of innovation, keep us at the forefront of developing more efficient and lower-carbon products. As a result, many of our products are currently market leaders in terms of environmental performance.
Our environmental strategy reflects our main focus of investment and effort, concentrating on three areas:
- Supporting customers by further reducing the environmental impact of our products and services.
- Developing new technology for future low emission products.
- Maintaining our drive to reduce the environmental impact of our business activities.
Implementing our strategy
We have a strong track record of reducing the emissions of our products through significant investment in Research and Development (R&D). In 2012, we invested £919 million in R&D, of which around two thirds is aimed at reducing the environmental impact of our products.
Further detail of our technology, including some of our global research programmes is available.
More detail on the environmental performance of our various products and services is also available.
We are also working hard to reduce the environmental impact of our business activities.
The Environment Council
The Environment Council, chaired by our Director of Engineering and Technology, comprises representatives of all businesses and key functions. Its role is to formulate and implement environmental policy. Focusing on products, services, operations and supply chain, it co-ordinates all related activities across the Group. The Council meets at least three times a year.
Environmental Advisory Board
The response to the challenges posed by climate change and other environmental issues require a proper understanding of the science. For more than a decade, we have had an independent Environmental Advisory Board with members from academia who are respected authorities in their fields.
Professor Ian Waitz (Chairman)
Dean of Engineering and Jerome C. Hunsaker Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.
Professor Roland Clift
Distinguished Professor of Environment Technology.
President – International Society for Industrial Ecology, University of Surrey, UK.
Professor Sir Brian Hoskins
Royal Society Research Fellow and Professor in Meteorology at Reading University, UK.
Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College, UK.
Emeritus Professor Nick Cumpsty
Distinguished Research Fellow at Imperial College, London, UK.
To complement our own expertise, the Board reviews and makes recommendations on the environmental aspects of our activities, including business, product and operational strategies. We attach great value to the independent advice it provides.
Our business model and strategy put the customer at the heart of our business. The DNA of the organisation is built around innovation and responding effectively to the needs of customers.
We have more than 14,000 professional engineers across four continents who can apply their intellect and experience to the environmental performance challenges of our products. In 2012 we recruited more than 600 new engineering graduate trainees and apprentices – the next generation of innovators for the environment.
We promote and applaud innovation at a number of levels. Our 150 strong Rolls-Royce Engineering Fellowship applies world-class technical expertise and creative thought to our most technically complex environmental issues. The annual Sir Henry Royce awards are among the many accolades that celebrate innovation across our business. We also have a world-wide network of 28 University Technology Centres. These engage over 700 academics in fundamental research into cutting edge technologies for step change improvements in the environmental performance of our future products.
Our gas turbine and reciprocating engine products typically use fossil fuels, resulting in emissions such as carbon dioxide (CO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), oxides of sulphur (SOx), carbon monoxide (CO), soot, and water vapour.
So climate change, local air quality and noise are all environmental impacts which we aim to minimise. As the means of reducing one impact can lead to increasing challenges in other areas these interlinked environmental concerns present a highly complex design problem. We apply our engineering capability and investment to meet these challenges.
Although the net climate-change impact of aviation’s NOx and water-vapour emissions has yet to be established with certainty, it is known that the long-term impact is dominated by CO2 effects. This and the commercial pressures faced by our customers drives our emphasis on fuel efficiency.
In the aerospace sector, we are working towards a long-term goal to improve engine fuel-efficiency by 30 per cent by 2050, relative to 2000. In the marine sector, our Environship concept reduces CO2 emissions by up to 40 per cent compared to similar diesel powered vessels. In the energy sector our current product line includes the Trent 60 which has established a new benchmark for fuel economy and hence cost savings. We continue to develop our recently-established business unit addressing opportunities in the civil nuclear sector to support electricity generation.
Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx)
In order to achieve certification, new aero-engine designs must demonstrate compliance with international regulations relating to engine NOx emissions and Rolls-Royce is working towards a long-term engine NOx reduction goal of -75 per cent by 2050 relative to 2000. NOx emissions are also subject to regulation in both the marine and power-generation sectors, where for example, our Bergen gas-engines offer exceptionally low levels of NOx emissions.
Aircraft and engine designs are influenced by international noise certification limits and also by airport-specific noise rules and charging structures. Rolls-Royce continues to develop technology to reduce all the main sources of engine noise. For example, the low noise technology in our Trent 1000 engine makes it the quietest engine on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, helping it to output only around one half the noise of the corresponding previous-generation aircraft.
More details of how we are helping our customers to meet the environmental challenge can be found in the products and services section of this website.