Rolls-Royce 87,000 HP Gearbox Sets New World Record, Could Power an Entire City

The cutting-edge power gearbox underwent over 650 hours of testing 6 photos
Photo: Rolls-Royce
UltraFan power gearboxUltraFan power gearboxRolls-Royce Aircraft EngineRolls-Royce Aircraft EngineRolls-Royce Aircraft Engine
One of the most important engine manufacturers in the world, with a significant legacy in the aerospace industry, Rolls-Royce breaks the norm again, with a new world aerospace record.
Rolls-Royce has been developing its highly-advanced UltraFan aircraft engine as part of an effort to support sustainable aviation. According to the company’s estimates, it’s going to take time for this particular sector to transition to sustainable fuels, which will inevitably come with greater costs compared to traditional fuel, at least in the beginning. Highly-efficient, innovative engines, such as UltraFan, will become an important factor in making this transition easier by increasing performance and reducing costs.

An important component of the UltraFan is the power gearbox (PGB) that has recently set a new world record. Tests at the company’s Dahlewitz facility near Berlin demonstrated its ability to reach an astounding power level of 87,000 HP or 67 MW, enough to power a town the size of British city Bath (29 km²). This performance record marks a milestone in the development of the next-generation aircraft engine.

Thanks to the PGB, the UltraFan engine is 25% more fuel efficient, compared to the first generation of Rolls-Royce Trent engines. In fact, the PGB has what is called a “planetary design”, and each planet can hold the force of a Trent XWB engine. By enabling the rear turbine of the engine to run at high speed, while the front fan runs at a lower speed, this gearbox makes the engine more efficient at various thrust levels.

Testing of this cutting-edge gearbox began in 2017, at the dedicated test facility in Dahlewitz. Before this new record, previous power tests showed its ability to manage “the equivalent power of an entire grid of Formula 1 cars”. Other demonstrations included flight simulations with the integrated gearbox, through different flight phases.

The record-breaking power gearbox is set to be delivered for the UltraFan demonstrator engine, UF001, by the end of this year. The first test of the next-generation engine will be conducted entirely on sustainable fuel.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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