Rolls-Royce develops SMRs for a low-carbon energy future

Rolls-Royce steers ever closer to net-zero emissions withe a number of decarbonisation innovations, including small modular reactors, hybrid flight, and biogas
New and exciting low-carbon technology developments from Rolls-Royce drive towards net-zero—with comments from leaders Chris Cholerton and Matheu Parr

The demand for renewable energy is drastically altering the approach that organisations take when developing innovative new solutions and is even allowing for more companies to showcase engineering prowess in evolving industries. 

Take a look at Rolls-Royce as an example. The company is much more than a design of luxury cars, but also uncovers new potential for energy across verticals like transportation and the business generating said power. In this area of decarbonisation, the company has been growing with the energy landscape and embraces the power that comes from blasting nuclear materials. 

Rolls-Royce has its own arm dedicated to innovation in small modular reactors (SMRs) on the premise of enabling affordable, clean energy in the future. Rolls-Royce SMR Limited is the business devised to deliver an affordable power plant that can leverage these SMRs to make sustainable energy. 

Rolls-Royce shortlisted for renewable energy greatness

In the business of SMR development, the company was recognised as a process for crowning the Great British Nuclear SMR technology, through a rigorous selection process that will deliver more opportunities to the UK.

But, the more compact nuclear energy production can be, the more likely its high energy density can be leveraged in localised applications to support both temporary and permanent sites. The introduction further SMRs sees potential for greater energy returns. 

“We welcome our shortlisting and are eager to build on this progress, moving quickly to the next stage where we can work to agree a contract and help the government reach its ambition to deliver up to 24GW of nuclear power by 2050m,” says Chris Cholerton, CEO of Rolls-Royce SMR. 

“Securing a domestic contract is vitally important to unlock the enormous global export potential of our clean energy technology.” 

Clean, affordable supplied by Rolls-Royce SMRs

Taking on a behemoth challenge, Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd is committed to meeting the needs of the world that we live in today. In a society where consumers and businesses expect zero energy downtime, it’s crucial that organisations come up with even more reliable ways to produce electricity as fossil fuels dwindled into history. 

Alongside its modular reactor business is the aviation firm, which is also delivering some exciting returns through the implementation of hybrid-electric flight. The company built a small gas turbine that was specifically designed for hybrid usage, which completed its first successful fuel burn on the 27th September 2023. This, along with Rolls-Royce SMRs, overcomes another small step towards decarbonising for industries with complex demands when decarbonising. 

As mentioned by Matheu Parr, Customer Director of Electrical and Advanced Air Mobility at Rolls-Royce, in relation to the aviation triumph: “This significant achievement follows the fast-paced development time of the new gas turbine from concept freeze to ‘pass to test’ in under two years. The turbogenerator system will enable our customers to extend the routes that electric flight can support and means more passengers will be able to travel further on low and potentially net-zero emissions aircraft.” 


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