Latest News | 7 April 2021

Rolls-Royce starts building world’s largest engine

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Rolls-Royce has officially started building the world’s largest engine in Derby, which it says will “help redefine sustainable air travel for decades to come”.

The engineering giant has begun work on the first UltraFan module at its dedicated DemoWorks facility at its civil aerospace site, in Sinfin.

The firm said that the demonstrator engine, which has a fan diameter of 140 inches, will be completed by the end of the year.

The engine is the basis for a potential new family of UltraFan 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 engine.

Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce’s president of civil aerospace, said: “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.”

Rolls-Royce said that the 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 on 100% sustainable aviation fuel at Rolls-Royce’s new £90 million Testbed 80 facility at Derby.

Significant investment has been made to develop the UltraFan demonstrator and associated technologies by Rolls-Royce and a variety of funding agencies, including the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK (United Kingdom), LuFo (Germany) and Clean Sky Joint Undertaking (European Union).

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “The UltraFan project is a perfect example of how we are working with industry to deliver green, sustainable flight for decades to come.

“Backed with significant government support, this project represents the scale of ambition for Britain's crucial aerospace sector.

“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.”

As engine build starts, other key parts are already coming together for delivery to Derby.

Work is underway on UltraFan’s carbon titanium fan system in Bristol and its 50MW Power Gearbox, which is powerful enough to run 500 family cars, in Dahlewitz, Germany.

Chris Cholerton said: “The UltraFan 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.

“I am delighted that the UK and German governments have supported us in making these significant ground-breaking technology investments.

“The Aerospace Technology Institute and LuFo programmes, as well as the EU’s Clean Sky, have all helped bring us a step closer to realising the enormous environmental and economic benefits of UltraFan.”

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