Rolls-Royce to Complete Construction of UltraFan Demonstrator

Published on: 18 July 2022
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Rolls-Royce has started the last phase of the UltraFan turbine engine, which it claims is the largest aero-engine technology demonstrator in the world. The company anticipates that the engine programme will provide a suite of technology to support "decades" of sustainable aviation travel.

Roll-Royce is finishing the demonstrator engine, which has a fan diameter of 370 centimetres, at its factory in Derby, United Kingdom, in preparation for the first run, which will occur later this year using 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). 

According to Rolls-Royce, the engine promises a 25 per cent boost in fuel efficiency over the first-generation Trent engine.

Considered essential to the engine manufacturer's sustainability strategy, the UltraFan initiative provides a chance to transfer technologies to existing Trent engines to increase fuel efficiency and minimise emissions. 

The engine's thrust range of 25,000 to 100,000 pounds will enable it to power narrow- and wide-body aircraft that are not expected to enter service until the 2030s.

Rolls-Royce designed the UltraFan to be compatible with fossil jet fuel and 100 per cent SAF. The engine has the capability of being adapted to hybrid-electric and hydrogen-based systems. 

When the UltraFan undertakes testing at Rolls-new Royce's £90 million ($107 million) Testbed 80 facility, data will be collected from over 10,000 parameters at a rate of up to 200,000 samples per second to identify the slightest vibrations.

Kwasi Kwarteng, UK business secretary, said: "Rolls-Royce has long been synonymous with British excellence in engineering. Building the cutting-edge UltraFan demonstrator shows there’s no sign of this reputation slowing down, with Rolls-Royce playing a central role in our plans to capitalise on the global shift to cleaner, fuel-efficient flight.”

Rolls-Royce president for civil aerospace, Chris Cholerton, said: "Our UltraFan engine technology demonstrator is arriving just as the world is seeking transformative technology to deliver sustainability. This programme is a significant investment in the future, and I am delighted that the UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK, Germany’s LuFO [Federal Aviation Research Programme], and the EU’s Clean Sky programmes have all been recognised the benefits of UltraFan and provided their support.”

Source: AIN Online

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