The Environmental Lightweight Fan (ELF) programme is aimed at introducing a carbon fibre composite fan blade which provides significant advantage for reducing the weight of major components in the gas turbine engine and increasing their operating life. Reduced weight saves energy and fuel and consequently reduces emissions. This programme is planned to develop composite fan blade design and manufacturing technologies. The programme initially concentrates on material selection and construction and the development of an automated manufacturing process. A series of progressively evolved and optimised blade designs will be manufactured and evaluated throughout the programme. The programme started in 2007 and is expected to complete in 2013.
The ELF consortium is GKN and Rolls-Royce, support has been provided by a number of leading UK and European universities.
Support for ELF has been provided by Technology Strategy Board and South East England Development Agency.