Rolls-Royce has announced the company has started its latest phase of testing on its low-emissions technology for the company’s next generation of engines.

    An ALECSys (Advanced Low Emissions Combustion System) demonstrator engine has resumed ground test runs in Derby, UK. The engine has technology that features in both the Advance3 and UltraFan® programmes.

    The company invested £1.46 billion on research and development in 2019 and the company supports a global network of 29 University Technology Centres, which position Rolls-Royce engineers at the forefront of scientific research.

    Strategy for sustainability

    Rolls-Royce says reducing emissions from gas turbines is part of the wider sustainability strategy for the company. The strategy also involves support for the increased use of sustainable aviation fuels, in addition to intensive research into disruptive propulsion architectures and technologies.

    According to the engine manufacturer, the lean-burn combustion system improves the pre-mixing of fuel and air prior to ignition which results in a more complete combustion of the fuel and lower NOX and particulate emissions.

    The company first began its series of tests in 2018 and this latest phase will focus on validating emissions performance, engine control system software and functional performance.

    “We know that the future of aviation can only be founded on greater sustainability and these tests are one element in our drive to support that goal. We’ve been excited by our results so far and we are now going to push on and see what more ALECSys can deliver”, Andy Geer, chief engineer and head of UltraFan said.

    The tests begin as Rolls-Royce starts to build the first parts for the UltraFan demonstrator. The demonstrator will start ground tests next year. Rolls-Royce says the UltraFan offers a 25% fuel saving over the first generation of Trent engine.

    The ALECSys programme is supported by the EU via Clean Sky and by the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK in the United Kingdom.