Rolls-Royce has started manufacturing fan blades for its UltraFan demonstrator engine in Bristol, U.K., the company announced on Tuesday. According to Rolls-Royce, the composite blades are the largest in the world with a diameter of 140 inches. The company says the UltraFan engine will offer a 25 percent reduction in fuel and emissions along with reducing weight by 700 kilograms (about 1543 pounds) compared to first-generation Rolls-Royce Trent engines.
“This is the decade of UltraFan and it’s exciting to enter the 2020s with the start of production of the demonstrator engine,” said Rolls-Royce President of Civil Aerospace Chris Cholerton. “We have got all the building blocks in place, the design, the technologies, a brand-new testbed, and now we are actually seeing the engine come together.”
The UltraFan is scalable form 25,000 pounds up to 100,000 pounds and features a new engine core architecture, advanced ceramic matrix composites and a “geared design to maximize high-thrust, high-bypass ratio engine efficiency.” Rolls-Royce plans to start ground testing the engine in 2021 and is looking to make it commercially available by the end of the decade.