As part of his efforts to reduce costs and refocus the FTSE-100 aircraft engine manufacturer, Tufan Erginbilgic has terminated work on a direct air capture product.
Rolls-Royce Holdings is eliminating a portion of its carbon capture operation as the FTSE-100 engineering conglomerate streamlines under its new chief executive.
The company abandoned the development of a direct air capture (DAC) product last month and reassigned the handful of employees working on the project.
However, according to sources, Rolls-Royce will continue to work on a government-funded DAC research initiative.
One source added that the team overseeing the development of a DAC product was currently pursuing funding from external investors to keep the project afloat.
DAC entails chemically extracting carbon from the air to combine it with hydrogen to produce synthetic fuel.
“If the energy for the entire process – including the production of hydrogen – comes from a zero-carbon source such as renewables or nuclear, you end up with a true ‘net zero’ fuel for industries such as aviation, because you are taking CO2 from the air to put into a fuel and then releasing it back into the air when you burn the fuel,” explained one industry expert.
Tufan Erginbilgic, who recently assumed the role of Rolls-Royce’s chief executive, is attempting to improve the group’s performance, which has led to the abandonment of the commercial product work.
Before he joined the firm, he had publicly criticized how portions of its business, most notably the power-systems division, were managed and referred to it as “a burning platform”.
He has reorganized large portions of the company’s administration, including replacing the chief financial officer.
A spokesperson for Rolls-Royce stated, “We will conclude our government-funded program to construct and test a direct air capture (DAC) prototype in Derby by 2024.
“Independent exploratory efforts to create a DAC product have ceased.
“We are currently investigating how we can capitalize on the valuable work we’ve completed thus far on this aspect of the project.”
In July of last year, Rolls-Royce announced that it had secured £3 million in government funding through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio program.
Mr. Erginbilgic’s predecessor, Warren East, outlined the company’s net-zero strategy in 2021, including its DAC work.