Rolls-Royce has entered the final build phase for the world’s largest aero-engine technology demonstrator, UltraFan, providing a suite of technologies to support sustainable air travel for decades to come.
The demonstrator engine, with a fan diameter of 140 inches, is being completed at Rolls-Royce’s facility in Derby, prior to its first run – on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel – later this year. It offers a 25% fuel efficiency improvement compared with the first generation of Trent engine.
UltraFan supports a variety of sustainability solutions. In the nearer term, there are options to transfer technologies from the UltraFan development programme to current Trent engines to deliver even greater fuel efficiency and reductions in emissions.
In the longer term, UltraFan’s scalable technology from 25,000-100,000lb thrust offers the potential to power new narrowbody and widebody aircraft anticipated in the 2030s.
UltraFan provides a platform for the use of a diverse range of energy options and power systems – including current jet fuel and sustainable aviation fuels as well as future potential for hybrid-electric and hydrogen.
Kwasi Kwarteng, 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.
“UltraFan, backed by the UK Government through the Aerospace Technology Institute Programme, is a major opportunity for growth and jobs for the UK. I look forward to seeing planes across the world powered by technologies developed in this ultra-efficient engine demonstrator for years to come.”
Chris Cholerton, president – Civil Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, said: “Our UltraFan engine technology demonstrator is arriving just as the world is seeking transformative technology to deliver sustainability. We are now in the final build phase and we will perform the first test run on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel later this year. The suite of technologies we are testing on the demonstrator will create opportunities to make improvements to our current fleet and provide new capability for future propulsion systems.
“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 and the EU’s Clean Sky programmes have all recognised the benefits of UltraFan and provided their support.”