Rolls-Royce has officially started building the world’s largest aero-engine, ‘UltraFan’, which will help redefine sustainable air travel for decades to come.
Work on the first module is underway at the dedicated DemoWorks facility in Derby (UK), and the demonstrator engine, which has a fan diameter of 140in, will be completed by the end of the year.
The engine is the basis for a potential new family of large engines able to power both narrow-body and wide-body aircraft and deliver a 25% fuel efficiency improvement compared with the first generation of Trent engines.
Rolls-Royce noted in a statement that gas turbines will continue to be the bedrock of long-haul aviation for many years. It says that 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 using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel.
“Companies like Rolls-Royce are playing a critical role as we build back greener from the pandemic and we are committed to giving the whole aerospace sector the support it needs to innovate and reach new heights,” said Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce, president – Civil Aerospace. “This is an exciting moment for all of us at Rolls-Royce. Our first engine demonstrator, UF001, is now coming together and I’m really looking forward to seeing it built and ready for 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.”