MIAMI – Rolls-Royce announced it has inaugurated Testbed 80, the world’s most extended and sophisticated enclosed aerospace test platform. The company welcomed the Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, Rt. Hon Kwasi Kwarteng in an official ceremony held in Derby, UK.

According to its press release, after three years of development and a funding £90m, the engine-maker constructed Testbed 80 with unique innovations that, according to the Rolls-Royce, make it more competent than any of its previous infrastructures.

The facility is built over 7,500 m2, making it larger than a Premier League soccer playground, boasts the company. Within the first quarter of 2021, the Trent XWB engine was tested at the facility. That test marked the first-ever engine run at Testbed 80.

Rolls-Royce Testbed 80. Infographic: Rolls-Royce

Comments from Rolls-Royce, Officials

Rolls-Royce CEO, Warren East, says, “Testbed 80 is the largest facility of its type in the world. However, it is not only big, but 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.”

Kwasi Kwarteng, Business Secretary, said, “This testbed here in Derby shows that the UK remains a global leader in aero-engine technology. I’m proud that we’re supporting Rolls-Royce’s development of the highly efficient UltraFan engine, as well as investment in green and cutting-edge aerospace technology here in the UK that will create high-skilled, well-paid jobs for decades to come.”

“As the civil aviation market recovers, the innovation of great British companies such as Rolls-Royce and the entire aerospace sector are central to our plans to build back better from the pandemic and end our contribution to climate change by 2050,” added the Secretary of Business.

Infographic shows how Testbed 80 test and sample. Infographic: Rolls-Royce

Testing Future, Now

Rolls-Royce commits to three elements in its sustainability journey: one, enhancing current gas turbine technology; two, improving Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF); and three, leading disruptive aerospace innovations. Rolls-Royce states that Testbed 80 is capable to assist all three. To cover the first element, the platform can accommodate a variety of current turbofans. Wich includes the Trent XWB and Trent 1000, as well as the UltraFan® concept.

Photo: Rolls-Royce

The UltraFan® is Rolls-Royce’s roadmap for future generations of aero-engines. Additionally, it has a quarter-percent increase in overall efficiency compared to the Trent family. The company will commence initial testing of UltraFan® demonstrator at this Testbed 80 within a year.

As for SAFs, is Rolls-Royce confirmed that it is useable in its current aero-engines. The facility has 140,000-liter gasoline storage. Further, it can accommodate several fuel types, specially SAFs. The company says it will put UltraFan® demonstrator to test using solely SAF in the coming year.

The innovative indoor test facility is capable of testing coming hybrid or all-electric flying machines. It seems that with Testbed 80, Rolls-Royce is poised to spearhead smarter and more sustainable aviation.

Featured image: Rolls-Royce Testbed 80. Photo: Rolls-Royce