Rolls-Royce’s Testbed 80 in Derby, the world’s largest indoor aerospace testbed, has been officially opened.
The ceremony took place with Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for the Department of Business Energy & Industrial Strategy, in Derby
The completion of the project is a major milestone after almost three years of construction and a £90 million investment. With testbed has an area of 7,500m2, making it larger than a football pitch.
The testbed conducted its first run on a Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine at the test facility in Derby, earlier this year.
Warren East, chief executive, Rolls-Royce, commented: “Testbed 80 is the largest facility of its type in the world. However, it is not only big, it is also smart and features the most advanced testing technology we have ever used. As the new global hub of our testing capability, it will support the next stage of our UltraFan programme as we begin ground testing the first demonstrator in 2022. This incredible piece of infrastructure is a very visible sign of our commitment to this site and secures the future of Derby as the home of large engine development, continuing a history that began in the late 1960s with the RB211.”
Testbed 80 will support three of Rolls-Royce’s sustainability objectives.
Firstly, continuing to improve the efficiency of the gas turbine. The facility has been designed to test a range of today’s engines, including the Trent XWB and the Trent 1000, but will also have the capability to test the UltraFan demonstrator, the blueprint for the engine maker’s next generation of engines. UltraFan will be 25% more efficient than the first Trent engine, and we will begin ground testing the demonstrator at the testbed in 2022.
Rolls-Royce says it is committed to promoting the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs), which can already be used as “drop-in” fuels in existing engines. Testbed 80 has been designed to support this commitment – it is equipped with a 140,000-litre fuel tank for different fuel types, including SAFs. Next year, Rolls-Royce also plan to run its first UltraFan demonstrator test using 100% SAF.
Also, in line with the company’s ambition to pioneer novel, more sustainable technologies, the testbed is designed to have the capability to test the hybrid or all-electric flight systems of the future.
Rolls-Royce partnered with MDS Aero Support Corporation of Ottawa, Canada, for the design and construction of this facility.