Rolls-Royce completes ground-testing of technology set to power the world’s fastest all-electric plane: ACCEL

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Rolls-Royce has completed testing of the technology that will power the world’s fastest all-electric plane. All the technology has been tested on a full-scale replica of the plane’s core—called an ‘ionBird’—including a 500hp electric powertrain powerful enough to set world speed records and a battery with enough energy to supply 250 homes. The plane is part of a Rolls-Royce initiative called ACCEL, short for “Accelerating the Electrification of Flight”.

The ACCEL project team includes key partners YASA, the electric motor and controller manufacturer, and aviation start-up Electroflight. The team has been developing the technology while adhering to the UK Government’s social distancing and other health guidelines; the systems will soon be integrated into Rolls-Royce’s ‘Spirit of Innovation’ plane. There is a long history of iron-birds in aviation for testing propulsion systems ahead of flight; in this case Rolls-Royce named the test airframe “ionBird”, after the zero-emission energy source propelling the aircraft. 

The dedicated team have tested each and every component of the system including running the propeller up to full speed (approximately 2,400 rpm) using the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for aircraft propulsion. When at full power during the flight-testing phase, it will propel the aircraft to more than 300 mph setting a new world speed record for electric flight.

More than 6,000 cells are packaged in the battery for maximum safety, minimum weight and full thermal protection. Since January, engineering and test pilots have spent many hours optimizing the system and developing operating procedures for electric flight. GBs of data—generated every hour of operation—are analyzed to improve performance wherever possible. 

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Rolls-Royce is committed to playing a leading role in reaching net zero carbon by 2050.The completion of ground-testing for the ACCEL project is a great achievement for the team and is another important step towards a world record attempt. This project is also helping to develop Rolls-Royce’s capabilities and ensure that we remain a leader in delivering the electrification of flight, an important part of our sustainability strategy. —Rob Watson, Director – Rolls-Royce Electrical

Bremont will be the official timing partner for the all-electric speed record attempt. The British luxury watch maker has also helped develop the design of the plane’s cockpit which will feature a stopwatch, while the company has machined canopy release parts at its Henley-on-Thames manufacturing facility. 

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The first flight is planned for later this year; the aim is to beat the current all-electric flight world record early next year. Half of the project’s funding is provided by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK. The ACCEL project is the first Rolls-Royce project to use offsetting to make the whole program carbon neutral. The company also hopes to inspire young people with the ACCEL project to consider STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

Link: https://www.greencarcongress.com/2020/10/20201001-accel.html

Rolls-Royce to carry out extra inspections on some Trent XWB engines

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Rolls-Royce will carry out extra inspections on some of its Trent XWB engines which power the Airbus A350 airliner.

Rolls-Royce said on Tuesday that the issue would not cause significant customer disruption or material cost, as it affected a small number of XWBs of a certain age.

The Trent XWB-84 engine is set to be subject to an Airworthiness Directive from regulator EASA, Rolls said, because of wear on a small number of Intermediate Pressure Compressor blades found on a minority of engines which have been in service for four to five years.

Rolls-Royce finds cracks in small number of Trent XWB engines
FILE PHOTO: A man looks at Rolls-Royce’s Trent Engine displayed at the Singapore Airshow

None of those engines have experienced abnormal in-flight operation, it said, adding that it would carry out inspections on all Trent XWB-84s of a similar service life as a precaution. There are just over 100 of them.

“Given the limited scale of additional work which we anticipate will be required at existing shop visits to address this wear, together with the availability of replacement parts and spare engines, we do not expect this issue to create significant customer disruption or material annual cost,” Rolls said in a statement.

Problems with its Trent 1000 engine which powers the Boeing 787 airliner are expected to cost Rolls-Royce 2.4 billion pounds ($3.1 billion) to fix over a 2017-2023 period.

Rolls recently said it was considering strengthening its finances to help it withstand the pandemic.

It burned through 3 billion pounds in the first half of the year as planes stopped flying, cutting the revenue it receives from flying hours.

Link: https://www.yahoo.com/news/rolls-royce-carry-extra-inspections-090622638.html

Boom Supersonic and Rolls-Royce Agree on New Collaboration for Supersonic Overture Engine Program Design

Boom's commercial airliner, Overture.
Boom’s commercial airliner, Overture.

DENVER, July 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Boom Supersonic, an aerospace company building the world’s fastest civil aircraft, and leading industrial technology company, Rolls-Royce, today announced an engagement agreement to explore the pairing of a Rolls-Royce propulsion system with Boom’s flagship supersonic passenger aircraft, Overture. The goal of the new agreement is to work together to identify the propulsion system that would complement Boom’s Overture airframe. The engagement will involve teams from Boom and Rolls-Royce collaborating in engine-airframe matching activities for Boom’s flagship supersonic passenger aircraft, Overture. The teams will also examine certain key aspects of the propulsion system. The teams will investigate whether an existing engine architecture can be adapted for supersonic flight, while Boom’s internal team continues to develop the airframe configuration. “We’ve had a series of valuable collaborations and co-locations with Rolls-Royce over the past years to lay the groundwork for this next phase of development,” said Blake Scholl, Boom founder and CEO. “We look forward to building on the progress and rapport that we’ve already built with our collaboration as we work to refine Overture’s design and bring sustainable supersonic transport to passenger travel.” The priorities of this engagement are informed by Boom and Rolls-Royce’s shared commitment to sustainability. Both companies recognize that supersonic passenger travel has to be compatible with a net-zero carbon future, and the two teams will work together to address sustainability in Overture design and operations. Overcoming the technological challenges of supersonic flight provides a unique opportunity to accelerate innovation sustainably. “We share a strong interest in supersonic flight and in sustainability strategies for aviation with Boom,” said Simon Carlisle, Director of Strategy, Rolls-Royce. “We’re now building on our valuable experience in this space as well as our previous work together to further match and refine our engine technology for Boom’s Overture.”  As a result of this collaboration, Boom and Rolls-Royce expect to make significant progress towards finalizing Overture’s aircraft configuration and propulsion system. About Rolls-Royce Holdings plc Rolls-Royce pioneers cutting-edge technologies that deliver clean, safe and competitive solutions to meet our planet’s vital power needs.Rolls-Royce has customers in more than 150 countries, comprising more than 400 airlines and leasing customers, 160 armed forces, 70 navies, and more than 5,000 power and nuclear customers.Annual underlying revenue was £15.45 billion in 2019, around half of which came from the provision of aftermarket services.In 2019, Rolls-Royce invested £1.46 billion on research and development. We also support a global network of 29 University Technology Centres, which position Rolls-Royce engineers at the forefront of scientific research.
About BoomBoom Supersonic is redefining commercial flight by bringing supersonic flight back to the skies with Overture. This historic commercial airliner is designed and committed to industry-leading standards of speed, safety, and sustainability. Boom’s vision is to bring families, businesses, and cultures closer together through supersonic travel and make the world dramatically more accessible. Boom is the first commercial airplane manufacturer to commit to a carbon-neutral flight test program and to build sustainability into its entire aircraft program. The company is backed by world-class investors and has 30 aircraft on pre-order. Founded in 2014, Boom has assembled a team of over 140 full-time employees who have made contributions to over 220 air and spacecraft programs. For more information, please visit https://boomsupersonic.com.

Link: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/boom-supersonic-and-rolls-royce-agree-on-new-collaboration-for-supersonic-overture-engine-program-design-301103138.html