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Rolls-Royce has announced that it has started constructing what will be the world’s largest aircraft engine with the fan measuring 3.5 m (140 inches) wide– UltraFan®. In a bid to help redefine sustainable air travel in the coming years, the British aerospace manufacturer is adding another one to its portfolio after its popular Trent engine family, according to a press release.

With both the British and German governments supporting the project, parts are under construction in Bristol, U.K., and Dahlewitz, Germany, and will be delivered to Derby for completion. In Bristol, UltraFan’s carbon titanium fan system, and in Dahlewitz, its 50MW Power Gearbox, which is reportedly powerful enough to run 500 family cars, are being developed.

“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,” said Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce, President – Civil Aerospace. 

 A sustainable future for aviation

The engine will deliver a 25 percent fuel efficiency improvement compared with the first generation of the Trent engine, which is important to achieving aviation sustainability. This improved efficiency will provide a smoother transition to more sustainable fuels. The engine’s first test run will be conducted on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

It will also be the basis for a potential new family of UltraFan engines, powering both narrowbody and widebody aircraft. 

More on the sustainability front, the engine will have a new Advance 3 core architecture to deliver maximum fuel burn efficiency and low emissions. Its advanced ceramic matrix composite components will operate more effectively in high-pressure turbine temperatures.

Rolls-Royce states that the engine will be complete by the end of the year. This government-backed project is a big investment in the future of engine technology.

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