Rolls-Royce in­vests £20m in deal with aerospace firm

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Alan Tovey

ELEC­TRIC air­lin­ers and jets fly­ing at five times the speed of sound could be a re­al­ity within a decade af­ter Rolls-Royce linked up with Re­ac­tion En­gines, a Bri­tish busi­ness which is push­ing the lim­its of aerospace tech­nol­ogy.

The com­pa­nies have agreed a strate­gic part­ner­ship to in­ves­ti­gate how Re­ac­tion En­gines’ de­signs can be used in high-speed air­craft, and how its ground­break­ing cool­ing tech­nol­ogy can be in­te­grated into mil­i­tary and civil air­craft.

Ox­ford­shire-based Re­ac­tion En­gines has de­vel­oped a “Sabre” en­gine ca­pa­ble of op­er­at­ing at more than 2,500mph and which com­bines a con­ven­tional gas tur­bine with the prop­er­ties of a rocket. This means it can work like a nor­mal jet but switch to rocket-mode fu­elled by liq­ue­fied oxy­gen at high altitude where the air thins out.

A key part of the de­sign is a su­per­ef­fi­cient heat ex­changer which is light and com­pact enough to be used in aerospace. Man­ag­ing heat gen­er­ated at high speeds is a vi­tal for su­per­sonic flight and also has spin-off uses such as cool­ing, a ma­jor chal­lenge for de­vel­op­ing elec­tric air­craft.

It has ex­ten­sive ap­pli­ca­tions in the automotive world.

Mark Thomas, chief ex­ec­u­tive, said: “Our de­sign has demon­strated cool­ing of 900C in less time than the blink of an eye. We can take air from tem­per­a­ture of molten lava to a level where you could com­fort­ably stand in it.”

The part­ner­ship will also see Rolls pump £20m into pri­vately owned Re­ac­tion En­gines, mak­ing the famed en­gi­neer one of its big­gest share­hold­ers, along­side BAE Sys­tems. Other in­vestors in­clude Boe­ing and in­vest­ment fund Bail­lie Gif­ford.

The tie-up means Re­ac­tion En­gines’ tech­nol­ogy could be test flown with a cou­ple of years, he said, and pre­dicted it could be in mil­i­tary or civil use within a decade.

The in­vest­ment comes with Rolls in the process of cut­ting 15pc of its staff, some 9,000 work­ers world­wide, as it bat­tles the im­pact of the pan­demic.

Jets fly­ing at five times the speed of sound could be re­al­ity by the 2030s with a hypersonic en­gine be­ing de­vel­oped by Re­ac­tion En­gines

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.