Rolls-Royce has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with oil and gas company Shell to advance the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in aircraft engines.

The long-term agreement between the companies will support the decarbonisation of the aviation sector and contribute to their goals of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

The partnership will also strengthen their collaboration on several existing areas.

Rolls-Royce is already conducting engine tests with 100% SAF fuel. The companies will find opportunities to move 100% SAF usage towards certification.

The companies will also explore opportunities to develop decarbonisation solutions.

Apart from aviation, Rolls-Royce and Shell will also assess larger opportunities for cooperation on infrastructure in other mobility sectors, including shipping and rail.

Rolls-Royce chief technology officer Paul Stein said: “Supporting the decarbonisation of aviation while continuing to enable progress in flight are goals that Rolls-Royce and Shell both share.

“We believe that working together on these aims can deliver benefits for both the development of new innovations, as well as collaborating to find ways to unlock the net carbon emissions reduction potential of technology that is already in use today.

“SAFs will not only power large aircraft and business aviation, but also hybrid electric urban air mobility (‘Flying taxis’) and the forthcoming generation of hybrid fixed-wing city hoppers, which is why we place such importance on the ramp-up of SAF adoption across the industry.”

Earlier this year, a consortium of aerospace companies, including Rolls-Royce, launched the first in-flight emissions study leveraging 100% SAF on passenger aircraft.