Rolls-Royce announced today that it has finished development and is preparing to test its UltraFan technology demonstration. The demonstrator engine was transferred from the build workshop to Testbed 80 in Derby, UK, where it was mounted in preparation for testing, marking a significant milestone for the program.
The first test of the demonstrator is planned to take place soon, with a projected 25% increase in efficiency. It will run on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel.
“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% Sustainable Aviation Fuel in 2023, proving the technology is ready to support more sustainable flight in the future,” said Chris Cholerton, President of Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace.
The UltraFan demonstration combines a new engine design with a series of technologies, has a fan diameter of 140 inches and promises a 25% fuel efficiency boost over the Trent engine’s first generation.
UltraFan provides several sustainability solutions to help transition to net zero aviation. In the near future, there may be opportunities to transfer innovations from the UltraFan development programme to current Trent engines to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
In the long term, UltraFan’s scalable technology from 25,000-110,000lb thrust can enhance narrowbody and widebody aircraft fuel efficiency by up to 10%.
The UltraFan additionally incorporates a planetary power gearbox between the fan and the compressors in the back, allowing the fan to operate at its optimal slower speed. In comparison, the compressors operate at their optimal higher speed.
Previously, the gearbox tested at 65 megawatts, breaking another record for the aerospace industry.