Rolls-Royce has reached a key milestone in its UltraFan technology demonstrator programme as its power gearbox (PGB) is dispatched from the company’s site in Dahlewitz, Germany.
The power gearbox, which has set a world aerospace power record on test, has been shipped to the UK where the first UltraFan engine demonstrator (UF001) is being assembled.
UltraFan offers a step change in gas turbine sustainability, saving 25% fuel compared with the first generation of Rolls-Royce Trent engines.
Critical to that performance is the PGB, which has a planetary design and can transmit more power than an entire grid of Formula One cars when running at maximum power. On test it has delivered 87,000 horsepower or 64 megawatts – enough to power a medium-sized city.
The engine demonstrator – the largest engine in the world with a fan diameter of 140 inches – will go on test in Derby, UK, this year and its first run will be on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel.
Chris Cholerton, president of Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace, said: “This is a tremendous moment for everyone on the UltraFan programme 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.”
UltraFan, which is scalable for narrowbody or widebody aircraft, is a key element of Rolls-Royce’s commitment to making aviation more sustainable.
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, which are likely to be more expensive than traditional jet fuel in the short-term.