Rolls-Royce officially opens new £90 million facility – the largest in the world

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Testbed 80 is also the most technically advanced indoor aerospace testing centre on the planet. The state of the art facility took three years to construct and covers an area of 7,500m2. The centre is capable of running the biggest gas turbines produced by Rolls-Royce at full power and can house the UltraFan engine, which at more than feet across, is wider than the fuselage of Concorde.

Testbed 80 is also fitted with monitoring equipment to allow engineers to observe 10,000 parameters at a rate of 200,000 samples per second, which can be transmitted to the company’s bases around the world.

The testbed conducted its first run on a Rolls-Royce Trent XWB earlier this year.

Warren East, Chief Executive, Rolls-Royce, says the facility has the “most advanced testing technology we have ever used”.

He described the Derby centre as the “new global hub of our testing capability”.

Mr East said: “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.

“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.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said building Testbed 80 in Derby shows Britain “remains a global leader in aero-engine technology”.

He 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.”

Testbed 80 will also be used by Rolls-Royce to support its sustainability programme.

The firm has ambitious plans to improve the efficiency of the gas turbine.

The centre will be instrumental in the development of the UltraFan demonstrator – the next generation of engines set for testing next year.


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The Derby facility will also play a key part in promoting the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs).

Testbed 80 has a 140,000-litre capacity to store different fuels, including SAFs.

Green fuel alternatives are expected to be used by Rolls-Royce in the first UltraFan demonstrator test in 2022.
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