The A380 is available with two types of turbofan engines, the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 (variants A380-841, −842 and −843F) or the Engine Alliance GP7000 (A380-861 and −863F).
The Trent 900 is a derivative of the Trent 800, and the GP7000 has roots from the GE90 and PW4000. The Trent 900 core is a scaled version of the Trent 500, but incorporates the swept fan technology of the stillborn Trent 8104. The GP7200 has a GE90-derived core and PW4090-derived fan and low-pressure turbo-machinery. Noise reduction was an important requirement in the A380 design, and particularly affects engine design. Both engine types allow the aircraft to achieve well under the QC/2 departure and QC/0.5 arrival noise limits under the Quota Count system set by London Heathrow Airport, which is a key destination for the A380. The A380 has received an award for its reduced noise. However,field measurements suggest the approach quota allocation for the A380 may be overly generous compared to the older Boeing 747. Rolls-Royce is supporting CAA in understanding the relatively high A380/Trent 900 monitored noise levels.
The A380 was initially planned without thrust reversers, incorporating sufficient braking capacity to do without them. However Airbus elected to equip the two inboard engines with thrust reversers in a late stage of development. The two outboard engines do not have reversers, reducing the amount of debris stirred up during landing. The A380 has electrically actuated thrust reversers, giving them better reliability than their pneumatic or hydraulic equivalents, in addition to saving weight.
The A380 was used to demonstrate the viability of a synthetic fuel comprising standard jet fuel with a natural-gas-derived component. On 1 February 2008, a three-hour test flight operated between Britain and France, with one of the A380’s four engines using a mix of 60% standard jet kerosene and 40% gas to liquids (GTL) fuel supplied by Shell.The aircraft needed no modification to use the GTL fuel, which was designed to be mixed with normal jet fuel. Sebastien Remy, head of Airbus SAS’s alternative fuel programme, said the GTL used was no cleaner in CO2 terms than standard fuel but it had local air quality benefits because the GTL portion contains no sulphur.
The Auxiliary power unit comprises the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), the electronic control box (ECB), and mounting hardware. The APU in use on the A380 is the PW 980A APU. It is the world’s most powerful APU, providing 1.3MW, which is 20 percent more powerful than the next largest APU in service. The APU primarily provides air to power the Analysis Ground Station (AGS) on the ground and to start the engines. The AGS is a semi-automatic analysis system of flight data that helps to optimise management of maintenance and reduce costs.The APU also powers electric generators which provide auxiliary electric power to the aircraft.