Back to: How we travel agenda
Moderator: And your final speaker is Rachel Everard from Rolls Royce.
Rachael Everard: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for inviting me today. And please forgive me. I'm going to use the notes most because I am a little bit nervous about this audience. Um but but I'm here to talk to you today about the role that air travel plays in our modern society, in bringing the world more open, closer together on the steps there already underway in the industry and are gathering pace to reduce the carbon impact of flying. And the fantastic opportunity that we think the UK has to really to do more and to really lead in this space. If at any point, I mentioned project or idea that it's you want to talk about in more detail, Thank you. And I'm really going to try and avoid technical-ness throughout this morning.#
So but first I want to tell you a little bit about myself. I grew up in a town called Netley. It's just outside Southampton. If anyone knows it, it's on the banks of the Solent. On one of my earliest childhood memories was standing there and watching these huge cruise liners leave from Southampton Harbour and sitting there and thinking, wow, where are these people going? Who are they going to meet? What are they going to experience when they get there? Flash forward 20 years and I've still never been on a cruise liner. I get seasick and also the idea of being out at sea for days on end kind of fills me with dread. But I have had the opportunity to travel the world, and flying is giving me that opportunity. Thanks to flying, I've had the opportunity to experience other cultures, to meet new people, to experience different climates in a way that has shaped me as a person. And I have no doubt that you will have similar experiences yourself. Flying is able to connect the world in a way that no other transport or technology can. Sure, 2020, we all have face time in our back pockets on my own, but we all know that's not the same as actually spending time with people that you love. Personally, I have friends all over the UK, Europe and the world. My parents are now up on (indecipherable). My cousins are in the south of France and I have friends in the US and work colleagues in China and Singapore. My parents in particular of 500 miles away from where I live and work. By the way that's a 10 hour drive, an eight hour train journey or one hour 10 minute flight. E mails, phone calls, that family Whatsapp chat that we all, they all play a really important role in our modern lives. But nothing beats that airport hug when you haven't seen your mum for six months. Excuse me, sorry. So flying has made the world say, because we understand it closer and smaller than ever.#
A little over 200 years ago, the Cutty Sark was lauded as a technological wonder for reaching from sailing from London to Australia in 72 days, about three months with a favourable wind. The return crew would take six months to make that journey. Today we can fly directly from London to Sydney in just seven, just sorry, 22 hours, 55 minutes, definitely not 72 days, um a feat that only made possible by the efficiency of a modern jet engine. That hasn't come about through accident has come about through decades of innovation, engineering prowess on above all innovation. At Rolls Royce, we've invest £1.3 billion in R & D each year. We have over 20,000 engineers working on this challenge. And we are the UK's leading patent filer, about 900 patents a year. And I'm really proud that Rolls Royce on Britain remains a pioneer in this space. You heard earlier today from Jim about how the aviation sector is successfully decoupled passenger growth from impact, meaning that while the total number of planes flying has gone up with rising demand, the impact that they have on the planet has no increased the same right.#
For nearly three decades, the British made Royce family of jet engines has pushed the boundaries of what is possible. And, as Owen said, reducing overall CO2 emissions from from the jet engine by about 75% of each new model of engine is setting a new performance benchmark for the whole aviation industry. Flying today is quieter and cleaner and than it has ever been on and the UK is right at the forefront of making that happen. At Rolls Royce, we're proud to call the world's most efficient aero engine flying today, the Trent XWB one of our own. The brains of that engine is made just outside this city in Solihull. And the engine itself is designed and built just up the road, 40 miles away and Darby. And it's because of the efficiency gains that we have made with engines like the Trent XWB that flying is more affordable, more accessible than ever. As Sally showed it's no longer an opportunity that's only reserved for the rich and famous, but that is not enough. We must go far further and we must go faster. You may have heard in the news. Earlier this week, the UK aviation industry launched a joint initiative to reach net zero emissions from UK air travel by 2050. This aligns with the UK's net zero target that we're here to discuss today. But more importantly, it aligns of this consensus of the scientific community must reduce global emissions to curb the worst impacts of climate change. What this roadmap begins to show is that the industry does think it is possible for people to fly, but also tackle climate change.#
At Rolls Royce, we believe that that could be achieved by pioneering innovation on three fronts. Firstly, continuing to evolve jet-engine technology in Darby, we're working on a new engine built on the Trent XWB that we call the Ultra Fan, that would deliver yet another step change in environmental performance, reducing emissions by 25% compared to the modern jet engine flying today. Secondly, we're working in partnership with the fuels industry to accelerate the availability of sustainable lower carbon fuels. The technology to produce non fossil fuel based fuels exists today, but Aaron said, they're not available in the quantities that we need far - from it. But these fuels can reduce the CO2 impact about 90% compared to a conventional jet fuel. And importantly, our engines are ready and available to fly on them today. It's simply a case of making sure the fuels are available. And believe me, we are pushing to make that happen. And thirdly, we're pioneering a third era of of aviation, more electric flight. Electrification will play a crucial role in dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of small and regional aircraft routes.#
The work we're doing right now, I firmly believe, will see me visiting my mom in a completely different aircraft within the next 10 years. And while we are starting small, we're thinking big. Later this year, Rolls Royce will attempt to break the world speed record with the first fully electric zero emission aircraft for a project that we call Excel. The plane we're building in Gloucestershire will reach speeds of over 300 miles per hour and have a range of around 200 nautical miles. That's a fun project it is - but what's most important about it is we are developing the world's most powerful battery that will ever take to the skies through this project. We're also working with partners in Scandinavia and the UK on hybrid electric island hopping aircraft on with colleagues in aeroplane manufacturers like Airbus on larger hybrid electric passenger jet planes that will fly next year. Just last week I was in northern Norway and I saw first hand how flight brings together communities, particularly the remote communities on the north Norwegian coast. This small plane behind me here provides a vital connexion for people, help them to get to hospital appointments, helping to commute to work. And let's them visit family and friends allows ordinary people hop over a fjord in just 20 minutes rather than the hours it would take to get round there by boat. We're working right now with this regional aircraft - airline, sorry, that operates these services to replace the plane that you see here today and the 30 others in their fleet with a fully electric - electric version by the end of this decade.#
All of this is possible because the UK has a long standing history of fostering innovation and pioneering new technologies and flight. And in fact, it's the UK government that's backing us on the majority of our electrical projects. We have a real opportunity in this country to reap the benefits of making aviation more sustainable, creating high tech, high skilled jobs while leading the world to a low carbon future. It is now more important than ever that Britain harnesses the potential of flight. We are, after all, an island. No wonder that we are the highest user of international flights um, the connexions that this country will need with new trading partners and friends who are going to be further away than the other side of the English Channel. Decarbonising aviation is not going to be cheap, which is why companies like Rolls Royce, another's in the sector, need to be able to continue to invest in technology solutions, it's not going to be easy. There's not one single solution to low carbon air travel. It would take a combination of improved engine and aircraft efficiencies, new technologies and designs, changes to infrastructure, including actions at airports and route planning and sustainable fuels to get us there. But ultimately, UK cannot go it alone.#
We are by our very nature an international business, and we need to persuade and cajole the rest of the world to move with us. But at Rolls Royce were very clear that we believe that there is a pathway from that zero aviation emissions by 2050 and we want to lead the world to get there. People fly for the experiences that they get when they step off that plane and into a different society, culture, even climate than they used to. When I want to get on a plane today and I have no doubt that every time I've stepped on a plane personally, I've benefited and learn from the experience, even from that girl's holiday the summer I left school. We need to be very clear that it's not flying itself that is the enemy here. It is, in fact, the very backbone of modern, inclusive society. Flying has enabled people on average incomes to explore the world in ways that only the richest could when my grandparents were born. Carbon dioxide, particularly from fossil fuels is the enemy, and that is the environmental and climate impact created by flying that must change. At Rolls Royce, we believe that aviation can be compatible with a net-zero world on that that could be achieved, could be tackled head on rather than through market based measures and achieved through innovation and technological advancement. We owe it to ourselves and the future generations that may stand on the banks of the Solent and wander about the world out there to make sure that is compatible. Thank you.
Moderator: So thank you, Rachel.
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