Rolls-Royce has announced that it is establishing a new University Technology Centre (UTC) at the University of Manchester to study future generation ‘more electric’ engine technologies.
Rolls-Royce said in a statement that this collaborative research will complement advances in ship and aircraft design where ‘more electric’ systems are replacing existing heavy and complex mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic systems.
Two new academic chairs are also being established from funding made available partly through a Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Foundation award, presented to those in aerospace making an outstanding contribution to humanity. Further funding for the UTC will come from the Royal Academy of Engineering. Rolls-Royce is co-funding the new chairs along with contributions from the universities and the Royal Academy of Engineering.
In marine vessels, using ‘more electric’ systems could lead to benefits in such areas as weight savings, reduced fuel burn and increased cargo capability, as well as simpler mechanical maintenance. It also allows naval architects greater design freedom and can enhance the manoeuvrability of vessels to dock without the aid of tugs. Additional benefits may include reduced running costs and lower noise and vibration levels for newer marine vessels.
In aircraft design, a common electric system across the airframe and engine may allow more efficient use of energy, where the anti-icing, hydraulic and environmental control systems extract power from the engine electrically. Reduced weight, reduced maintenance and reduced fuel burn will all allow cost savings for airline customers, and more electric systems may reduce or ultimately remove the use of oil in aero engines.
The University of Manchester UTC completes the formation of a three-university partnership in Electrical Systems for Rolls-Royce that also includes the universities of Sheffield and Strathclyde.
Manchester will specialise in electrical systems for extreme environments. Sheffield is studying advanced electrical machines and drives, and Strathclyde is concentrating on electrical power systems.