Rolls-Royce has successfully completed the first tests of its UltraFan technology demonstrator on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). 

This signals an historic moment for the engine manufacturer, as it marks the first time in 54 years that an engine manufacturer has tested a brand-new engine architecture.

The tests took place at its aero-engine testing facility in Derby – Testbed 80. The 100% SAF, derived primarily from waste-based sustainable feedstocks such as used cooking oils, was provided by Air bp.

With the concept unveiled publicly in 2014, this result has been almost a decade in the making. Key engineering features of the UltraFan include carbon titanium fan blades and Advanced Core3 architecture combined with Rolls-Royce’s ALECSys combustion system to deliver maximum fuel burn efficiency and low emissions.

UltraFan delivers a 10% efficiency improvement over the Trent XWB, which is already the world’s most efficient large aero engine in service.

Gary Elliott, Chief Executive Officer, Aerospace Technology Institute, said: “Rolls-Royce’s UltraFan programme has achieved a huge step forward in terms of the fuel efficiency of aircraft engines. The technology developed within the programme has greatly improved our understanding of how to increase engine performance while reducing environmental impact.

“It is a programme that puts the UK at the forefront of the global market and is absolutely critical for the future of the UK aircraft engine industry,” Elliott added.

Photo credit: Rolls-Royce