Construction of World’s Largest Gas Turbine Testing Facility Underway

Rolls-Royce is pairing with MDS Aero Support Corporation to build the world’s largest gas turbine engine test facility.

MDS Aero Support Corporation, an Ottawa-based organization, announced in early May that construction is underway on its new turnkey gas turbine engine test facility that will be placed in Derby, England.

According to Skies, the facility is scheduled to be completely built and fully operational by 2020.

Gas turbine testing is an important aspect of ensuring the quality of operation of any large engine. Salt particles can attach themselves to turbine blades and attract other particles like dirt. This particle buildup can actually decrease the turbine’s power output by up to 15%. Since salt particles and other debris can be damaging to a turbine, it’s important to have a thorough and nondestructive way to inspect and test these engines to ensure productivity.

The testing facility will cover approximately 1.85 acres, and will be able to work with gas turbine engines of all sizes. Additionally, the facility will focus on implementing innovative digital technologies, as well as X-ray capabilities, in order to provide thorough endurance, performance, water ingestion, and more turbine engine tests.

“This new test bed will support Rolls-Royce’s ongoing industrial transformation and provide important additional capacity and flexibility as our civil aerospace business continues to ramp up engine production to enable us to deliver on a record order book,” said Chris Cholerton, president of the Civil Aerospace Division at Rolls-Royce.

The entire aeroderivative gas turbine market has already been on the rise, valuing at just over $2 billion as of 2015. Thanks to major projects like this new testing facility, however, the market’s success could significantly rise. In fact, the aeroderivative gas turbine market is expected to exceed 21 gigawatts (GW) by 2024.

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