A £40 million investment programme to help the aerospace supply chain speed up the development of low-carbon aircraft engine technology has been announced with Rolls-Royce playing a central role.
The West Midlands is home to three Rolls-Royce plants as well as 25 per cent of the firm’s supply chain and the company is to take centre stage in the programme, called Strategic Affordable Manufacturing in the UK with Leading Environmental Technology (SAMULET).
Despite SAMULET being on the list of schemes which recently missed out on Advantage West Midlands funding, the project is still going ahead with the Technology Strategy Board investing £28.5 million and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) putting in £11.5 million.
The aerospace industry is facing radical changes if it is to meet its targets of a 50 per cent CO2 reduction by 2020 relative to 2000 levels and an 80 per cent cut in nitrogen oxide emissions by 80 per cent and noise by 50 per cent.
SAMULET will be a collaboration between industry and academia led by Rolls-Royce working in a consortium alongside other manufacturers, SMEs and several of the UK’s top universities.
Technology Strategy Board chief executive Iain Gray said: “SAMULET aims to ensure that the UK aero-engine industry remains competitive in the face of new 2020 emissions targets for aircraft and that it is in a position to manufacture engines for the next generation of civil aircraft.
“We supported this intervention because we felt that it was essential that new technology advances rapidly enough in the industry to ensure that the UK retains a competitive advantage in this field.
“Through the supply chain and academic partners, SAMULET also offers exciting opportunities to promote UK high value manufacture more generally.”
Chief executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Dave Delpy said: “The application of science and engineering research is vital to help overcome the threat of climate change and sustainable living.”