Jun 21, 2021

Rolls-Royce: Accelerating the Race to a Zero Carbon Economy

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Rolls-Royce announces plans to power a zero carbon economy and support global sustainability goals

Achieving Net Zero by 2050 at the Latest

One year on from joining the UN Race to Zero campaign, Rolls-Royce Holdings - a multinational aerospace and defence manufacturing and engineering company - has released its latest pathway to achieve a zero carbon economy.

By developing new technologies, accelerating the adoption of sustainable fuels (vital for decarbonisation of long-haul aviation - and driving efficiency improvement, Rolls-Royce aims to make all of its new products net zero compatible by 2030, followed by all its products in operation by 2050. 

“There is no single solution to net zero,” explains Rolls-Royce. As a result, the company plans to innovate across multiple areas simultaneously. However, the pace and prioritisation of technology solutions, alongside global consistency and policy collaboration are said to be vital to the success of its sustainability efforts. 

“At Rolls-Royce, we believe in the positive, transforming potential of technology. We pioneer power that is central to the successful functioning of the modern world. To combat the climate crisis, that power must be made compatible with net zero carbon emissions. This is a societal imperative as well as one of the greatest commercial and technological opportunities of our time [...] our innovative technology has a fundamental role to play in enabling and even accelerating, the overall global transition to a net zero carbon future. We believe that as the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic and looks to build back better, global economic growth can be compatible with a net zero carbon future and that Rolls-Royce can help make that happen,” said Warren East, CEO, Rolls-Royce.

Current Sustainable Efforts Made by Rolls-Royce:

  • Manufacturers the world’s most efficient large civil aero-engine in service - the Trent XWB - its successor UltraFan® is said to be 25% more efficient
  • To transform how cities and/or industrial processes are powered, Rolls-Royce has built a microgrid business and designed a small modular reactor (SMR) power plant
  • Investments in battery storage technology and demonstrating fuel cells 
  • Striving to be a leader in all-electric and hybrid-electric flight
  • Aligning its business model will the Paris Climate Agreement goals and establishing a pathway to achieve net zero
  • Boosting its research and development (R&D) expenditure, increasing its spend on R&D to 75% by 2025

Rolls-Royce Decarbonisation Strategy: Three Interconnected Pillars

Decarbonising Its Operations 

Rolls-Royce aims to eliminate emissions from its operations (Scope 1 and 2) by 2030, some may achieve this sooner, such as its UK Bristol site which is expected to achieve net zero by 2022.

Decarbonising Complex, Crucial Systems

Rolls-Royce has set ambitions to enable its products to be used in a way that is compatible with net zero, as well as pioneer new technological breakthroughs that can accelerate the global transition to net zero. 

Actively Advocating

Rolls-Royce strives to be an advocate for sustainable practices, for the necessary environment and policy support that will enable this ambition to be achieved. 

“We’re ready to put our history of innovation to the test once again. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to combat climate change by enabling and even accelerating our transition to a net zero carbon future. We will meet that challenge by doing what we do best; Pioneering the Power that Matters – cleaner, more sustainable power for our customers and the environment,” said Tom Bell, Chairman & CEO, Rolls-Royce North America and President, Defense.

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