Rolls-Royce Successfully Tests UltraFan Technology

The Rolls-Royce Ultrafan engine in the factory.
Photo Credit: Rolls-Royce

On Thursday, May 18, history was made for the British manufacturing firm Rolls Royce which successfully completed tests on its brand-new engine design the Ultra Fan X with the tests completed using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

The UltraFan 


The new UltraFan engine delivers a 10% efficiency improvement over the Trent XWB, used mainly on the A350s. The Trent XWB is already the world’s largest efficient aero engine in commercial use.

In addition, knowing that the UltraFan is superior to the Trent series, there are options for customers to transfer technologies from the UltraFan development program to the current incumbent Trenf engines.

This is to allow customers flexibility, greater reliability, and efficiency, and to keep the Rolls-Royce momentum upbeat. 

In the long term, UltraFan’s scalable technology from 25,000 – 1110,000lb thrust offers the potential to propel new narrowbody and widebody aircraft, which are expected to be in commercial use in the 2030s. 

Tufan Erginbilgic CEO of Rolls-Royce commented saying: “The UltraFan demonstrator is a game changer – the technologies we are testing as part of this program have the capability to improve the engines of today as well as the engines of tomorrow.”

“That is why this announcement is so important – we are witnessing history in the making; a step-change in engine efficiency improvement.”

“When combined with Sustainable Aviation Fuels, more efficient gas turbine engines will be key to hitting the industry’s target of Net Zero flight by 2050. Today we are closer to achieving this ambition.”

Tufan also elaborated on working together with different stakeholders: “Collaboration is key in driving the decarbonization of air travel and the UltraFan program is a great example of what can be achieved when government and industry come together with a common purpose.”

The new engine tests took place at the world’s largest and smartest state-of-the-art aero-engine testing facility – Testbed 80. The 100% SAF, is comprised of primarily waste-based sustainable feedstocks such as used cooking oils – refined and provided by Airbp. 

The success in testing the UltraFan technology has received numerous feedback, fortunately, most of them very positive!

Strong Showing for UK Aviation Industry

UK Business and Trade Secretary, Kemi Badenoch, said: “This cutting-edge technology will help the transition towards a greener future for aviation while attracting further investment into the UK’s aerospace industry, helping grow the economy.”

“I’m proud that the Government has backed this initiative through our Aerospace Technology Institute program, and we will continue to work with manufacturers like Rolls-Royce as we seek to grow the UK’s share of the global aerospace market.”

Gary Elliott, Chief Executive Officer, of Aerospace Technology Institute, said: “Rolls-Royce’s UltraFan program has achieved a huge step forward in terms of the fuel efficiency of aircraft engines.”

“The technology developed within the program has dramatically improved our understanding of how to increase engine performance while reducing environmental impact.”

The testimonials from both private and public individuals boost Rolls-Royce’s credibility in becoming a greater player in providing propulsion systems in aviation.

Axel Krein, Executive Director of Clean Aviation, added: “It is a program that puts the UK at the forefront of the global market and is absolutely critical for the future of the UK aircraft engine industry.”

“Our congratulations to the Rolls-Royce team for the successful tests of this exciting technology demonstrator. Congratulations to the talented team for reaching this significant milestone in shaping aviation’s net-zero sustainable future.”

Rolls Royce continues to push forward the boundaries of new aviation technology as it alongside the UK government pushes harder towards generating greener air travel.

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