Rolls-Royce runs Lean-Burn Combustion test engine for first time

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Rolls-Royce engineers has tested its lean-burn combustion process for the first time on a test engine in Derby in the UK.

The ALECSys (Advanced Low Emissions Combustion System) will be used in the company’s future jet engines, such as the Advance3 and UltraFan, which are planned to be on the market by 2020 and 2025 respectively. 

ALECSys improves the pre-mixing of fuel and air before ignition to deliver a more complete combustion of the fuel and lower NOx and particulate emissions. The system was housed within an adapted Trent 1000 engine for the test.

Andy Geer, chief engineer and head of program for UltraFan, Rolls-Royce, said, “We are very proud to see this technology come to life for the first time. We are confident that the ALECSys system will offer significant benefits for our customers and look forward to putting the demonstrator through its paces.” 

The development of ALECSys has been part-funded by the European Union’s Clean Sky SAGE (Sustainable And Green Engine) program. 

Other recent testing milestones at Rolls-Royce include the running of its Advance3 test engine for the first time in November and the testing of the gearbox for the UltraFan engine in September 2017. The gearbox reached 70,000hp while being tested at the Rolls-Royce facility in Dahlewitz, near Berlin, Germany, a record level of power transmission in the aerospace sector. 

The UltraFan is a geared, scalable engine, designed to be suitable for both wide-body and narrow-body aircraft and to offer 25% fuel efficiency improvement over the first generation of Rolls-Royce Trent engines. 

February 6, 2018

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 16 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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