Rolls-Royce has announced that it is ready to start testing its UltraFan aero engine demonstrator.
In what the Derby engineering giant said was a “major milestone” for the programme, the demonstrator engine was transported from the build workshop and into Testbed 80 in Derby, where it has been mounted in preparation for testing.
Rolls Royce hopes it will be part of a new family of engines able to power both narrow body and wide body aircraft and use 25 per cent less fuel than the first generation of its Trent engines.
The first test of the demonstrator is expected to take place early in 2023 and using 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel.
Chris Cholerton, president of Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace, said: “Seeing the UltraFan demonstrator come together and getting ready for test in Testbed 80 is a great way to end the year.
“We have all been waiting for this moment, which is such an important milestone for the programme and for the team who have worked on it.
“The next stage will be to see UltraFan run for the first time on 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel in 2023, proving the technology is ready to support more sustainable flight in the future.”
Air travel is one of the biggest contributors to global greenhouse emissions.
The UltraFan demonstrator has a fan diameter of 140 inches and offers a 25 per cent fuel efficiency improvement compared with the first generation of Trent engine.
Rolls Royce hope the finished product will be used for decades and said there were also options to transfer technologies from the UltraFan programme to current Trent engines to make them a bit greener.
Testbed 80, the world’s biggest and smartest testbed, was designed and built especially to accommodate the size and technical complexity of the UltraFan demonstrator.
It was opened in 2020 and has already completed many hours of experimental engine testing.
The UltraFan technology demonstrator programme has been supported by the UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK, the EU’s Clean Sky programmes plus LuFo and the State of Brandenburg in Germany.
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