Rolls-Royce’s low emission combustion system takes off in the US

Its demonstrator took to the skies in Tucson, Arizona, successfully entering the final phase of testing

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Rolls-Royce’s innovative low emission combustion system took flight in Tucson, US, successfully entering the final phase of testing.

The Advanced Low Emissions Combustion System (ALECSys) demonstrator engine was attached to its Boeing 747 Flying Test Bed in Arizona, with the test programme including flights up to 40,000 feet as well as a number of engine relights in different conditions.

According to Rolls-Royce, the combustion system 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.

The ALECSys – which is part of the UltraFan engine demonstrator programme that offers a 25% fuel saving over the first generation of Trent engines – previously completed a comprehensive set of ground tests, including icing, water ingestion, ground operability, emissions and running on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

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.”