World's most efficient aero-engine, the Rolls-Royce UltraFan, completes first test

Rolls-Royce reports that it has successfully tested its revolutionary UltraFan, super-efficient, aero-engine at a test site in Derby, UK.
Christopher McFadden
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The UltraFan is the world's most efficient aero-engine.


Rolls-Royce has announced the first test of its new "green" UltraFan jet engine at their test facility in Derby, United Kingdom. The company claims the new engine is the quietest and most fuel-efficient engine ever, delivering around 10% better fuel efficiency than the world's current most efficient aero-engine, the Trent XWB.

"UltraFan is a demonstrator aero engine – the largest in the world –  containing a suite of new technologies that deliver greater fuel efficiency, which in turn means lower emissions and greater sustainability," explains Rolls-Royce.

"Those technologies are scalable, capable of being developed to create an engine with a thrust range of 25,000lb to more than 100,000lb for narrowbody or widebody aircraft that may be developed from the 2030s," the company added.

The innovative engine has a massive 140-inch diameter fan with a relatively small core that is, Rolls-Royce claims, the "key to its efficiency." The engine can deliver 64MW of power during testing and offers a 25% fuel burn improvement over its competitor like the Trent, as mentioned earlier engine.

The test occurred at Testbe,d 80 facility in Singin, with the UltraFan demonstrator engine running on 100% Sustainable Aviation fuel (SAV). Rolls-Royce explained that this fuel is derived primarily from waste-based feedstocks like cooking oil.

"The UltraFan demonstrator is designed for the future – it will be ready to run on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel from day one of service. In addition, we are actively exploring potential options for hybrid-electric and hydrogen power solutions.," explains Rolls-Royce.

For this reason, Rolls-Royce executives are confident in calling the UltraFan a "game-changer" in the aerospace industry.

Chief executive Tufan Erginbilgic said: "The UltraFan demonstrator is a game changer - the technologies we are testing as part of this program can improve today as well as the engines of tomorrow."

"That is why this announcement is so important - we are witnessing history in the making, a step-change in engine efficiency improvement," he added.

The engine test, therefore, represents an important milestone towards the aerospace industry's goal of achieving net zero-emission flight by the year 2050. The UltraFan project, supported by the UK government, has been a decade in the making after being unveiled publicly in 2014.

British Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said: "This cutting-edge technology will help the transition towards a greener future for aviation while attracting further investment into the UK's aerospace industry, helping grow the economy."

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