We spent three days at the Rolls-Royce factory in Dahlewitz, where new sci-fi technologies are created and aircraft engines are made and blown up. During our trip, we also learned that we will have to wait until 2030 to be able to travel in flying taxis, and Hungary plays a huge role in making this happen.
The Paris Air Show 2023, the biggest event in the aerospace and space travel industries, is still going on, as this year Rolls-Royce also pulled the wraps off the lid on its new invention. Prior to the event, 24.hu was invited to the company’s factory in Dahlewitz, where we were not only the first to learn about the company’s latest technology, but also got a glimpse into their production processes.
Most people probably think of Rolls-Royce as luxury cars, even though the company’s main profile is the development of aircraft engines and other aviation-related equipment. Vehicles under the Rolls-Royce brand are now produced by a subsidiary of BMW, while the company of the same name, on the other hand, is engaged in the design and creation of new technologies aimed at repairing aviation, which promise an almost adequate future. with science fiction.
Hungarians can bring the era of flying taxis
Among these technologies, at this year’s Paris Air Show, Part A Rolls-Royce in Hungary, which is a turbine generator system developed by Hungarian engineers, has come into the spotlight, which can power hybrid electric aircraft in the future. According to the company’s vision, they will be used in urban air taxis and similar aircraft developed for short-distance travel.
Matthew BarrAn employee of Rolls-Royce Electrical who also developed the turbo-generator said, We may have to wait until 2030 for planes that can be used as taxis in major cities at any time, but flights that can be ordered in advance may become available much earlier, potentially taking us to major city airports from our homes. These vehicles can carry up to 4 passengers and 80 kilograms of baggage over a maximum distance of 50 kilometers.
In the distant future, regional, intercity and local air transport systems may also be built, moreover, according to Rolls-Royce’s promise, all this will be environmentally friendly. Thanks to the turbo-generator hybrid electric motor, vehicles are powered by electricity and the so-called sustainable aviation fuel ( SAF), which is made from, among other things, used cooking oil and similar raw materials.
Environmentally friendly trip
The company has made similar commitments in other areas of aviation, so conventional commercial aviation will also be environmentally friendly and carbon-neutral. The recently completed UltraFan engine, which is currently the world’s largest and most efficient aircraft engine, can help with that.
Powered by 100 percent environmentally friendly SAF, this engine also consumes less fuel and is quieter than other engines. The company will use the UltraFan to make flying more sustainable, though, they don’t plan to mass-produce it in the near future, they’d rather use the technologies used in it for other engines so that they consume less fuel and can be 100 percent environmentally friendly, he told us. Rob WatsonPresident of Rolls-Royce Civil Aviation.
Long-term goals include creating hydrogen-powered aircraft engines with zero CO2 emissions, however, many new technologies still need to be developed for this, so the company is focusing on engines working exclusively with SAF in the near future.
For now, there are still some who doubt that gas turbines powered entirely by sustainable fuel will be safe for long-distance travel, but Rolls-Royce is ready to convince everyone.
In the last quarter of this year, together with Virgin Atlantic, they plan to fly across the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in the world with an aircraft powered by 100 percent sustainable jet fuel. The company hopes that this historic 7-hour flight will be the next step towards fossil-fuel-free aviation.
After the experts introduced us to the future of aviation, we were able to take a look around the company’s assembly plant in Dahlewitz, as well as the company’s mechanical test center. In the latter case, completed engines are tested, and in some cases a brand new turbine is loaded until it explodes Share with us Simon BurrRolls-Royce Director of Product and Technology Development. This is a necessary measure, since in this way they can determine how much load a given motor can withstand.
They also test for dangerous situations, such as what would happen if a turbine blade suddenly broke or a bird flew into the engine. The first mode is created by deliberately blowing one of the blades of a working turbine, and the latter is simulated by shooting bird-sized objects, made of silicone, sometimes real dead birds, into the engines.
All this is absolutely necessary so that they can be persuaded with absolute certainty that no one’s safety is endangered by the engines of the completed aircraft. Of course, breakdowns still happen from time to time, but the company is also ready for this.
They have a control center in Dahlewitz, where they monitor all the engines they produce and use 24 hours a day, and if any abnormalities are detected, they correct errors as quickly as possible. Currently, a total of 12,700 Rolls-Royce aircraft engines are in use worldwide, and the company has received an order for another 1,300.