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EU projects address calls for quieter and greener air travel [Print to PDF] [Print to RTF]

The recent growth in air travel has not been embraced by all. While holidaymakers have benefited from cheaper flights and new routes, the number of lobby groups calling for a reduction in air transport has soared. For many, the focus is environmental pollution. For those livin...
EU projects address calls for quieter and greener air travel
The recent growth in air travel has not been embraced by all. While holidaymakers have benefited from cheaper flights and new routes, the number of lobby groups calling for a reduction in air transport has soared. For many, the focus is environmental pollution. For those living under an aeroplane's flight path, noise pollution is a primary concern.

Brussels is just one of the cities around the world currently experiencing a lively debate on the noise caused by aircraft, particularly at night. Perhaps with this in mind, the European Commission has decided to highlight the numerous research projects that it is funding in order to reduce both aircraft noise and fuel consumption.

'Through EU funding and cooperation with the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE) technology platform, Europe's key aircraft manufacturers, research institutes, universities and small to medium sized enterprises are working together to create cheaper, cleaner and quieter aircraft,' said EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin. 'These projects will help minimise the environmental downside of increased air traffic, while also helping to maintain the competitiveness of the European aerospace industry.'

The growth in air travel has been astounding. In the UK alone, the number of air passengers almost doubled between 1991 and 2001, from 84 million to 160 million. And forecasters expect figures to have doubled again in just 11 years from now. The accompanying increase in noise is now considered to be a serious health hazard, not just a nuisance.

The SILENCE(R) project brings together 51 companies to test new technologies which the consortium believes could reduce aircraft noise by up to six decibels by 2008. The technologies include low-noise fans, novel intake liners, bypass and hot stream liners, nozzle jet noise suppressers, active control techniques and airframe noise reduction technologies. The project has a total budget of 110 million euro, half of which is being contributed by the EU.

Similarly, the FRIENDCOPTER project is focusing on reducing helicopter noise. The project team hopes to produce noise-absorbing engine inlets, methods to identify cabin noise leaks, and control technology to reduce rotor noise, vibration and fuel consumption.

Meanwhile the TANGO project aims to achieve a 20 per cent reduction in weight and cost in aircraft structures and manufacturing processes in order to improve competitiveness. Four aircraft sections - the lateral wing box, the centre wing box, the fuselage section and the advanced metallic fuselage section - are being tested for their ability to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

The five year EEFAE project, in which all major European aero-engine companies and a number of universities are involved, will build and test aero-engine technologies to reduce fuel consumption, emissions and cost, and, at the same time, to improve reliability.
Source: European Commission

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Record Number: 22225 / Last updated on: 2004-06-23
Category: Programme
Provider: EC