Rolls-Royce UltraFan technology demonstrator ready to test

Engine was transported from the build workshop and into Testbed 80 in Derby, UK.


Rolls-Royce has completed building and is preparing to test its UltraFan technology demonstrator. In a major milestone for the program, the demonstrator engine was transported from the build workshop and into Testbed 80 in Derby, UK where it was mounted in preparation for testing.

The first test of the demonstrator is expected to take place early this year and will be operated using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

President of Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace Chris Cholerton said, “We have all been waiting for this moment, which is such an important milestone for the program 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.”

Combining a new engine design with a suite of technologies to support sustainable air travel for decades to come, the UltraFan demonstrator has a fan diameter of 140" and offers a 25% fuel efficiency improvement compared with the first generation of Trent engine.

UltraFan offers a variety of sustainability solutions that will support the journey to net zero aviation. In the nearer term, there are options to transfer technologies from the UltraFan development program to current Trent engines to deliver enhanced fuel efficiency and reductions in emissions. In the longer term, UltraFan’s scalable technology from ~25,000 lb to 110,000 lb thrust delivers the potential to further improve fuel efficiency of both narrowbody and widebody aircraft by up to 10%.

Testbed 80, the world’s largest 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 program has been supported by the UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK, the EU’s Clean Sky programs, plus LuFo and the State of Brandenburg in Germany.

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