Rolls-Royce has reached another milestone in its UltraFan engine program as the power gearbox (PGB) from the company’s site in Dahlewitz, Germany. The power gearbox has been shipped to the UK, where the first UltraFan engine demonstrator (UF001) is being assembled.
The UltraFan engine offers a step changes in gas turbine sustainability, saving 25% fuel compared with the first generation of Rolls-Royce Trent engines. For that performance, the PGB is critical that has a planetary design and can transmit more power than an entire grid of Formula 1 cars when running at maximum power. Also, the UltraFan PGB would allow the engine to be more efficient at different thrust levels due to the fact that the rear turbine can run at high speed while the front fan runs at a slower speed.
During the test carried out last year, it delivered 87,000 horsepower or 64 megawatts – enough to power a medium-sized city.
The UF001 engine demonstrator is the world’s largest aero-engine with a fan diameter of 140 inches. It is currently being assembled in Derby, UK, and will conduct its first test later this year. The company also said that the engine’s first run will be on 100% sustainable aviation fuel.
“This is a tremendous moment for everyone on the UltraFan program as we take another step forward with the dispatch of the power gearbox. I’m proud that we are creating better, more efficient gas turbines, which will be an essential part of air travel for decades to come,” said Chris Cholerton, President of Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace.
The UltraFan engine can be adapted for both narrowbody and widebody aircrafts. The company believes that the 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 aviation fuels.