Rolls-Royce opened a new University Technology Centre (UTC) at The University of Manchester in 2004 to pursue research into innovative electrical technologies for aerospace, marine and energy applications.
The Rolls Royce University Technology Centre in Electrical Systems for Extreme Environments was officially opened by Rolls-Royce Chief Operating Officer John Cheffins, just one mile from where Charles Rolls and Henry Royce forged their original partnership at Manchester’s Midland Hotel in 1904.
The vision of this development reflects the rapidly increasing importance of electrical power systems in each of the company’s key markets. The quest for enhanced technologies is driven by customer demands for improvements in performance, capabilities and services. Emerging electrical technologies have the potential to meet these demands by enabling major improvements in system integration and product functionality.
The Centre, part of the University’s Power Conversion Group, will design electrical systems for air, sea and land vehicles which operate in ‘extreme environments’ like those experienced by planes at altitudes of 60,000ft and by ships submerged in freezing waters. The Centre houses a state of the art laboratory – the Intelligent Electrical Power Networks Evaluation Facility (IEPNEF) - in which all of these conditions can be tested. This major Rolls-Royce £1M plus facility has been installed as part of a national project to devise and develop more-electric technologies for future aircraft, marine and land-based vehicles.
"We are seeing a progressive merging of electrical and mechanical power systems to meet the increasingly complex demands on Rolls-Royce products. This trend is creating a considerable demand for new electrical power technology and systems understanding."
Paul Stein, Chief Scientific Officer, Rolls-Royce plc 2011
Research will focus on designing electrical systems which are lighter and more efficient than the heavy pneumatic and mechanical systems used on ships and planes today. Reducing weight will reduce fuel consumption, lower emissions, increase efficiency and ultimately reduce the cost of travel.
- Aerospace – electrical system architectures, energy management, fault re-configuation, power electronic interfaces, energy storage, intelligent agents, high-voltage cable design, low temperature power electronics.
- Marine – electrical propulsion systems, electrical system modelling, rim thrusters, submarine electrical actuation systems.
- Energy – superconducting technologies, fault current limiting, tidal and wind generation.
Rolls-Royce student sponsorship:
- Undergraduate – Power Academy