2 minute read - 14th November 2023
Rolls-Royce completes UltraFan maximum power run
Rolls-Royce has completed a successful run of its UltraFan® technology demonstrator to maximum power at its facility in Derby. The initial stage of the test was conducted using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
Rolls-Royce said it was an important milestone for the UltraFan demonstrator, which was successfully tested for the first time earlier this year. Since then, the UltraFan team has been gradually increasing the power as part of the rigorous testing regime, with the demonstrator performing in line with expectations. The results of the test will provide Rolls-Royce with valuable learning and data, which its teams will now take away and continue to analyse.
The achievement reinforces confidence in the suite of technologies that have been developed as part of the UltraFan programme. Confirming this capability is a big step towards improving the efficiency of current and future aero-engines as UltraFan delivers a 10% efficiency improvement over Rolls-Royce Trent XWB, which is already the world’s most efficient large aero-engine in service. In total, it’s a 25% efficiency gain since the launch of the first Trent engine. UltraFan’s scalable technology from ~25,000-110,000lb thrust also offers the potential to power the new narrow-body and wide-body aircraft anticipated in the 2030s.
As part of the UltraFan development programme, Rolls-Royce adds that it has identified a number of technologies that are potentially transferable to current Trent engines, which will provide current users with even greater availability, reliability and efficiency.
Tufan Erginbilgic, CEO of Rolls-Royce, said: “Hitting full power with our UltraFan demonstrator sends a strong message that Rolls-Royce is at the cutting-edge of innovation and technology, leading the way in the transition to more efficient and sustainable aviation. This fantastic milestone puts us in a strong position to support the plans of our customers as they develop the next generation of super-efficient aircraft.”
Simon Burr, group director of engineering, technology and safety at Rolls-Royce, added: “We estimate that to reach net zero flying by 2050, a combination of highly-efficient, latest-generation gas turbines such as UltraFan operating on 100% SAF are likely to contribute around 80% of the total solution, which is why today’s announcement is such an important milestone for Rolls-Royce and the wider industry.”
The successful UltraFan demonstrator run to full power took place in the world’s largest and smartest indoor aero-engine testing facility – Testbed 80, in Derby. 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.