British engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce has entered the final stage of the assembly of the world’s largest aero engine demonstrator, the UltraFan, 16 months after the company announced the start of the engine’s development.
Rolls-Royce expects that the UltraFan demonstrator, which has a fan diameter of 140 inches (3.56 meters), will perform the first test run on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) later in 2022.
“UltraFan, backed by the UK Government through the Aerospace Technology Institute Program, is a major opportunity for growth and jobs for the UK. I look forward to seeing planes across the world powered by technologies developed in this ultra-efficient engine demonstrator for years to come,” said Kwasi Kwarteng, business secretary at Rolls-Royce.
Featuring an Advance3 core architecture and ALECSys lean-burn combustion system, the new engine is estimated to offer a 25% fuel efficiency improvement compared with the first generation of Trent engine.
Rolls-Royce’s new engine is also expected to feature a range of propulsion options, including current jet fuel, SAF, hybrid-electric, and hydrogen.
Looking ahead, the company plans to transfer technologies from the UltraFan development program to existing Trent engines to deliver more fuel efficiency and reductions in emissions.
The world’s largest aero engine could enter the service with future narrow-body or widebody aircraft in the 2030s, the company explained.
“The suite of technologies we are testing on the demonstrator will create opportunities to make improvements to our current fleet and provide new capability for future propulsion system,” commented Chris Cholerton, President Civil Aerospace at Rolls-Royce.
Currently, the largest commercial aircraft engine available in the market is the GE9X, which is made by the American manufacturer, General Electric.