> Zero and Rolls-Royce join forces to develop synthetic fuelled future


10th August 2023

Zero has entered a landmark agreement with global engineering giant Rolls-Royce to promote further development of the company’s fossil-free synthetic fuels. The commitment demonstrates the growing momentum behind the development of synthetic fuels as a replacement for fossil fuels.

The new agreement will see the two parties collaborate to demonstrate Zero® synthetic fuels on a variety of different Rolls-Royce engines for aviation, marine and defence use. This has the potential to include Zero’s entire range of synthetic fuels – gasoline, diesel and jet fuel – with data gathered from engine testing used to prove the credentials required to achieve international fuel certification standards. Synthetic fuels deployed by Rolls-Royce in engine tests will directly reduce associated carbon emissions.

Zero, which was founded by Formula One technical legend Paddy Lowe little more than three years ago, secured the Guinness World Records® title of “first aircraft powered by synthetic fuel” in 2021 and opened the world’s first fully-featured synthetic fuel facility Plant Zero.1 earlier this year.

Zero CEO Paddy Lowe said: “We are thrilled to be working with one of the world’s most innovative and forward-thinking engineering companies in a combined quest to accelerate the Energy Transition. The world is facing increasingly urgent demands for fossil fuel alternatives and it is vital for all companies to develop the solutions to achieve this. We could not consider a better engine partner than Rolls-Royce with whom to meet this challenge head-on.

“We have proven the genuine capabilities of our fuels in a wide variety of vehicles – including a light aircraft, a supercar and a chainsaw. As we move towards full certification of our fuels, we are starting to put in place the commercial realisation of these demonstrations and aim to be running our first large-scale production plant two years from now.”

Rolls-Royce Senior Vice President - UK Defence, Dave Gordon, said: “Rolls-Royce’s Gas Turbine technology is a critical strategic national capability and guilt-free synthetic fuel is at the heart of how we can continue to support the warfighter in delivering military advantage. Zero is at the cutting-edge of the synthetic fuel industry and we have been extremely impressed by their rapid progress in the short time they have been in existence; we are confident their team can continue that impressive trajectory. We look forward to a long partnership between Rolls-Royce and Zero to develop and demonstrate the future of sustainable energy across our wide range of complex power & propulsion solutions as we leave the fossil fuel era behind us.”

Zero® fuels, which are made from just air and water using Zero’s proprietary Direct FT® process, can be used directly in existing engines and can be made at unlimited scale, unlike existing bio- and waste-based Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs). Synthetic fuels have the potential to de-fossilise numerous critical sectors and industries with Zero predicting cost parity with fossil fuels within a decade.