Rolls-Royce ALECSys demonstrator engine flies at altitude for the first time

Rolls-Royce ALECSys demonstrator engine ©Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce has announced that its Advanced Low Emissions Combustion System (ALECSys) demonstrator engine has entered into its final testing phase with successful testing at altitudes up to 40,000 feet. The testing also included several engine relights under varying conditions.

The ALECSys system involves an innovative lean-burn combustion system which improves the pre-mixing of fuel and air prior to ignition, enabling cleaner combustion of the fuel, which results in lower NOX and particulate emissions. Earlier, successful ground testing has included operating on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), icing, water ingestion, ground operability and emissions. The ability to test ALECSys low-emissions technology in flight will facilitate the verification of altitude operability performance while providing experience of operating a lean-burn system to maximise maturity ahead of a future entry into service.

ALECSys is part of the UltraFan® engine demonstrator programme, which offers a 25% fuel saving over the first generation of Trent engines. The ALECSys programme is supported by the EU’s Clean Sky programme, and in the UK by the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK. Simon Burr, Director of Product Development and Technology, Civil Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, 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.”

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