Rolls-Royce has announced that it has officially started building the world’s largest aero-engine, UltraFan, which will help redefine sustainable air travel for decades to come.
It is stated that the work on the first module is underway at the company’s dedicated DemoWorks facility in Derby, UK. The demonstrator engine with a 140-inch fan diameter is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
In addition to the ability to power both narrow-body and wide-body aircraft, the engine could be the basis for a potential new family of UltraFan engines. The company expects the UltraFan engine to deliver a 25% fuel efficiency improvement compared with the first generation of the Trent engine.
Gas turbines will continue to be the bedrock of long-haul aviation for many years, and UltraFan’s efficiency will help improve the economics of an industry transition to more sustainable fuels, which are likely to be more expensive in the short-term than traditional jet fuel. The first test run of the engine will be conducted on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel.
UltraFan’s carbon titanium fan system is being built in Bristol, and its 50MW Power Gearbox, which is powerful enough to run 500 family cars, is taking shape in Dahlewitz, Germany.
“This is an exciting moment for all of us at Rolls-Royce,” said Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce, President – Civil Aerospace. “Our first engine demonstrator, UF001, is now coming together, and I’m really looking forward to seeing it built and ready for the test. It is arriving at a time when the world is seeking ever more sustainable ways to travel in a post-COVID 19 world, and it makes me and all our team very proud to know we are part of the solution.“
UltraFan, which is part of the company’s IntelligentEngine vision, also has a digital twin that allows engineers to predict the in-service performance of each fan blade and stores real-life test data.