Rolls-Royce gas announced the official opening of Testbed 80 in Derby, UK. Designed in collaboration with the MDS Aero Support Corporation of Ottawa, Canada, this impressive facility is the result of almost 3 years of construction work.
Rolls-Royce has invested £90 million ($128 million) in this one-of-a-kind testbed. With an internal surface of 7,500 m2 (80,730 ft2), it’s the biggest facility of this type in the world. And, according to the brand, it’s also the smartest, where some of the most innovative testing technologies and systems will be put to work. The main project, for now, is developing the next stage of the UltraFan engine, with the testing of the first demonstrator set for 2022.
But there are many more things to come for the Testbed 80. Its main role is to provide the perfect space for testing and optimizing Rolls-Royce’s current engines, including the Trent XWB and the Trent 1000, while also paving the way for the UltraFan demonstrator, which is designed to be 25% more efficient than the first Trent. On the other hand, hybrid and all-electric flight systems will also be tested in this new facility.
In line with the company’s environmental commitment, Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs) are also an important element for the testbed’s future development. In fact, Testbed 80 has a 140,000-liter (37,000 gallons) fuel tank, for various types of fuel, including SAF, and the UltraFan demonstrator will run on SAF as well, during next year’s test.