UK-based industrial technology group Rolls-Royce has announced that it has joined the United Nations’ (UN’s) ‘Race to Zero’ campaign, as a consequence of which the company has committed itself to achieving net zero carbon emissions from its operations by 2030. In its statement, the company affirmed that it had “a bold ambition to play a leading role in pioneering a resilient, inclusive, net zero carbon future”.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has brought immediate and obvious pressures to our industry and to us as a company, but the long-term challenges our world faces have not gone away,” pointed out Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East. “The world on the other side of this pandemic will need the power that we generate to fuel economic recovery. I absolutely believe the call for that power to be more sustainable and net zero will be stronger than ever. Answering that call is a big, complex challenge and few companies on the planet are better placed than Rolls-Royce to help.”
The company has also committed itself to the UN ‘Business Ambition for 1.5˚ C’ campaign. This is aimed at helping limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5˚ C, which is a goal of the Paris Agreement (on climate change). This included achieving net zero carbon emissions in essential economic sectors – such as aviation, power generation, railways and shipping – by 2050.
“We will use our capabilities to play a leading role in enabling the[se] vital sectors in which we operate achieve net zero emissions by 2050,” he assured. “I believe this ambition will drive our competitiveness for the future.”
Later this year, the company would release a clear roadmap, laying out its route to promoting net zero carbon emissions by 2050. It would continue investing in research and development (R&D) into increasingly efficient products and new solutions, to meet the challenge of climate change.
In pursuit of this goal of net zero carbon emissions, Rolls-Royce would focus its R&D on six essential technology areas. It would seek to dramatically improve the efficiency of engines while working with fuel suppliers to achieve a major expansion in the supply of alternative, lower-carbon, fuels. It was also leading a consortium developing a small modular nuclear reactor design, that would generate power, at scale, that was clean, low carbon and competitive. It would further increase the use of renewable energy by eliminating volatility through the deployment of microgrid solutions to provide essential stability and back-up power.
In the transport sectors, it would continue to deploy hybrid electrical systems for railways and ships, as well as move this technology into aviation. It would also continue developing disruptive low emission technologies and products, including advancing the electrification of aircraft propulsion. Last but not least, Rolls-Royce was planning to move to total use of renewable energy, leading the way in closed-loop manufacturing using high value metals, and employing its own technology-leading microgrid capabilities to support its own facilities, in order to achieve net zero carbon emissions from its operations and facilities by 2030.
“Limiting global warming to 1.5˚ C requires systemic change across industries and borders,” said the company. “As an industrial technology leader, we believe Rolls-Royce is well placed to work across those parts of the economy and industry that are the hardest to abate. Our commitment to solving complex problems and continued investment in research and development will ensure that our business is not only compatible with a net zero carbon future, it is essential for it.”