Rolls-Royce successfully tested UltraFan technology demonstration in Derby, UK

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Rolls-Royce successfully tested UltraFan technology demonstration in Derby, UK

A new engine is designed, manufactured and assembled including a turbine ITP Aero

Revision Interempresas25/05/2023

Rolls Royce It successfully completed the first trials of its UltraFan technology demonstrator at its Derby, UK facility in mid-May. The first tests were carried out using 100% Standard Aviation Fuel (SAF).

Rolls-Royce has lived through a historic moment: for the first time in 54 years an aero engine manufacturer has tested an entirely new engine architecture, a testament to what can be achieved when industry and government work together. Confirming the capability of the demonstrator’s built-in technologies is an important step towards improving the performance of current and future aeroengines. The UltraFan increases the efficiency of the Trend XWB by 10%, already the most efficient large aeroengine in service in the world.

Soon, there are options to transfer technologies from the UltraFan development program to existing Trent engines, providing our customers with even greater availability, reliability and performance.

Longer term, UltraFan’s scalable technology provides the ability to power new narrow- and wide-body aircraft expected in the 2030s, with thrust ranging from 25,000 to 110,000 pounds.

In the words of Tufan Erginbilgic, Managing Director of Rolls-Royce plc: The technologies we are testing under this program have the potential to improve current and future engines. That’s why this announcement is so important: we’re witnessing a historic shift in improving engine performance. Combined with sustainable aviation fuels, more efficient gas turbine engines will be key to achieving the industry’s goal of net-zero aircraft by 2050. Today we are closer to achieving this goal. Collaboration is key to driving the decarbonisation of aviation and the Ultrafan project is a great example of what can be achieved when government and industry come together with a common purpose.

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Speaking at the demonstration, Rolls-Royce PLC Managing Director Tufan Erginbiljic said: “The technologies we are testing under this program have the potential to improve current and future engines.

Tests were carried out on Test Bench 80, the world’s largest and most intelligent indoor aircraft engine test facility. Air bp offers 100% SAF, derived primarily from sustainable waste-based raw materials such as used cooking oils.

The demonstrator test is the culmination of several years of work supported by the UK Government through the Aerospace Institute of Technology (ATI), Innovate UK, the EU Clean Sky programmes, Lufo and the State of Brandenburg (Germany).

Kemi Badenoch, UK Trade and Enterprise Secretary, explains: This cutting-edge technology will help transform a greener future for aviation, while attracting new investment into the UK aerospace industry, contributing to the growth of the industry and economy. He added: “I am proud that the Government has supported this initiative through our Institute of Aerospace Technology programme, and we will work with manufacturers such as Rolls-Royce to increase the UK’s share of the global aerospace market.

For his part, Gary Elliott, CEO of Aerospace Technology, commented: The Rolls-Royce UltraFan program has achieved a tremendous advance in terms of fuel efficiency for aircraft engines. The technology developed under the project has greatly advanced our understanding of how to maximize engine performance while minimizing environmental impact. This is a project that puts the UK at the forefront of the world market and is absolutely vital to the future of the UK aero-engine industry. Congratulations to the Rolls-Royce team for successfully testing this amazing technology demonstration.

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Axel Krein, CEO of Clean Aviation, added: Congratulations to the talented team for achieving this important milestone in designing a net-zero sustainable future of aviation. The flagship project of the Clean Sky 2 project, the UltraFan Technology Demonstrator, shows the power of innovation and collaboration in improving our way. This architecture will continue to be developed through the Clean Aviation Heaven project.

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The UltraFan concept was released publicly in 2014. It is a different design configuration to the approximately 4,200 large Rolls-Royce civilian locomotives currently in service, as it incorporates a gear design not produced by any other industry player.

UltraFan has been a decade in the making and its concept was released publicly in 2014. It is a fundamentally different design configuration to the approximately 4,200 large Rolls-Royce civilian locomotives currently in service, as it has a gear design unlike any other in the industry. The player has produced at this level before. Showing it at this scale gives Rolls-Royce the flexibility to scale it to the needs of its customers. And this will put the company in a unique position to offer two and three axle, direct drive and gear propulsion solutions for future aircraft.

As explained by Erlands Kristpaul, Managing Director of Technology and Engineering at ITP Aero, the new engine includes a turbine designed, manufactured and assembled at ITP Aero: this is a very important milestone for Rolls-Royce and ITP Aero. We are pleased to design, manufacture and assemble the Ultrafan Demonstrator Intermediate Pressure Turbine, which has become one of the pillars of our commitment to aviation decarbonisation.

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Main technical characteristics of the tester

  • The new, proven Advance3 core architecture, combined with our ALECSys lean burn system, delivers maximum fuel efficiency and low emissions.
  • Carbon and titanium fan blades and composite housings.
  • A gear design that provides efficient power for future high thrust, high bypass ratio engines. The power gearbox operates at 64 MW, a space record.


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