Once upon a time, there was a single Rolls-Royce company that manufactured both luxury cars and aircraft engines. Today, there are two Rolls-Royces that operate as unrelated companies, and while we’re used to seeing news from the automaker, today it’s the aerospace Rolls-Royce that’s making headlines as they’ve announced the start of construction on the world’s largest aero engine.
Work is underway in Derby, UK on the Rolls-Royce UltraFan, an engine with a fan diameter of 140 inches. Rolls-Royce hopes the engine will mark the start of a new family of UltraFan engines, which they believe have the potential to create more sustainability in air travel over the next several decades. That’s because the UltraFan is capable of powering both narrowbody and widebody aircraft with a 25% fuel efficiency improvement over the company’s widely-used Trent engine (Rolls-Royce is the world’s second-largest manufacturer of aircraft engines). The engine is also engineered to work with sustainable fuels as air travel looks for ways to be more environmentally friendly, and the first test run of the UltraFan will be conducted on 100% sustainable aviation fuel. You can learn more about the UltraFan and what it means for the future of air travel at the Rolls-Royce website.