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New aircraft engines promise environmental benefits

by John Dean 20 Jun 2011
New aircraft engines promise environmental benefits

Aircraft engine manufacturer CFM International has announced the 1,001th innovation in its new LEAP engine, which is being hailed as a major breakthrough in environmental benefits.

The company, a joint venture between General Electric and Safran, said the 1,001th innovation was a blade for a fan that is so lightweight that it reduces the weight of the aircraft by 1,000 pounds.

Made of woven carbon fibres, rather than all-metal, the fan will, according to the company contribute half of the 15 per cent fuel efficiency improvement which the LEAP engine will bring about.

Jean Paul Ebanga, president and CEO of CFM International, said: "The 1,001 technology innovations we have identified are certainly just the tip of the iceberg. We recognised long ago that it would take the combined efforts of thousands of people and multiple technology innovations to meet our customers' long-term expectations."

Using techniques such as lighter materials and advanced aerodynamic design, the engine is expected to translate into much as $1.6 million in fuel cost savings per airplane, per year.

Allied to that, LEAP will also achieve double-figure improvements in CO2 emissions and noise levels, and reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), a greenhouse gas, by 50 per cent compared to current requirements.

Also unveiling new innovations in aero engine design are Airbus and Rolls-Royce, who have just announced that they will jointly develop the A350-1000 aircraft with more powerful Trent XWB engines, offering more payload and a larger range. The most powerful engine ever developed for an Airbus plane, it is due to enter service in 2017.

Fabrice Bregier, Airbus' Chief Operating Officer, said that the engine would produce 25 per cent less fuel use than its nearest competitor and cuts in CO2 emissions.

Mark King, Rolls-Royce President, Civil Aerospace, said: "Trent XWB engines currently on test are proving it to be the most advanced civil aero engine in the world today. This has enabled us to offer our partner, Airbus, a new, higher thrust version of the engine with industry-leading levels of efficiency."

Top Image Credit: © jaddingt


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