Rolls-Royce has announced it has successfully completed the first tests of its UltraFan technology demonstrator at its facility in Derby, UK.
The first tests were conducted using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). This is a historic moment for Rolls-Royce – it’s the first time in 54 years the aero-engine manufacturer has tested a brand-new engine architecture.
Confirming the capability of the suite of technologies incorporated in the demonstrator is a big step towards improving the efficiency of current and future aero-engines. UltraFan delivers a 10% efficiency improvement over the Trent XWB, which is already the world’s most efficient large aero engine in service.
In the nearer term, there are options to transfer technologies from the UltraFan development programme to current Trent engines, providing our customers with even greater availability, reliability and efficiency.
In the longer term, UltraFan’s scalable technology from ~25,000-110,000lb thrust offers the potential to power new narrowbody and widebody aircraft anticipated in the 2030s.
Tufan Erginbilgic, CEO, Rolls-Royce plc, said: “The UltraFan demonstrator is a game changer – the technologies we are testing as part of this programme have the capability to improve the engines of today as well as the
engines of tomorrow. That is why this announcement is so important – we are witnessing history in the making; a step-change in engine efficiency improvement.
“When combined with Sustainable Aviation Fuels, more efficient gas turbine engines will be key to hitting the industry’s target of Net Zero flight by 2050. Today we are closer to achieving this ambition.
“Collaboration is key in driving the decarbonisation of air travel and the UltraFan programme is a great example of what can be achieved when Government and industry come together with a common purpose.”
Aero-engine testing facility
The tests took place in the world’s largest and smartest indoor aero-engine testing facility – Testbed 80. The 100% SAF, derived primarily from waste-based sustainable feedstocks such as used cooking oils, was provided by Air bp.
Testing the demonstrator is the culmination of many years work, which has been supported by the UK Government through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), Innovate UK; the EU’s Clean Sky programmes plus LuFo and the State of Brandenburg in Germany.
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