Rolls-Royce Successfully Tests Low Emission Combustion System at Altitude
Rolls-Royce has successfully entered into the final phase for testing of their Advanced Low Emissions Combustion System (ALECSys) demonstrator engine at altitude, with the demonstrator attached to the company’s 747 Flying Test Bed in Tucson, Arizona.
On Thursday (November 17, 2022), Rolls-Royce announced that they have successfully entered the final testing phase of their Advanced Low Emissions Combustion System (ALECSys), with the most recent testing taking place at altitude. The demonstrator engine took flight attached to Rolls-Royce’s Boeing 747 Flying Test Bed in Tucson, Arizona (US). The testing regimen has included flights up to 40,000 feet, along with a number of engine relights conducted under different conditions, all of which proved successful. The innovative lean-burn combustion system has been designed to improve pre-mixing of air and fuel prior to ignition, enabling cleaner combustion with reduced NOx and particulate emissions.
In Thursday’s announcement, Rolls-Royce’s Director of Product Development and Technology – Civil Aerospace, Simon Burr, said,
“We are very pleased to see the ALECSys engine now flying. This flight testing is a key part of our drive to not only improve engine efficiency but all aspects of environmental performance. It is part of the wider Rolls Royce sustainability strategy, which also includes support for the increased use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and intensive research into alternative propulsion architectures and technologies.”
Rolls-Royce's Boeing 747 Flying Test Bed - Courtesy Rolls-Royce
Rolls-Royce’s ALECSys demonstrator previously completed a comprehensive range of ground tests, including icing, water ingestion, ground operability, emissions and operation using 100 percent SAF. Testing the technology in flight will allow for verification of altitude operability performance, while providing lean-burn operating experience to maximize maturity prior to entry into service. The ALECSys is part of Rolls-Royce’s UltraFan® engine demonstrator program, which offers a 25 percent reduction in fuel burn compared to first generation Trent engines. The ALECSys program is supported by the European Union’s Clean Sky program, and in the UK by the Aerospace Technology Institute, as well as Innovate UK.