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FP6

NEWAC — Result In Brief

Project ID: 30876
Funded under: FP6-AEROSPACE
Country: Germany

Eco-friendly and cost-efficient aircraft engines

EU-funded researchers developed design concepts for more efficient and environmentally friendly jet propulsion engines. Commercialisation should help curb climate change.
Eco-friendly and cost-efficient aircraft engines
Aeroplanes have revolutionised the way people interact and do business. Air traffic is on the rise and is expected to continue increasing at a rate of about 5 % per year. Unfortunately, aircraft emissions will also grow alarmingly if action is not taken.

Aircraft and their engines are important sources of two so-called greenhouse gases (GHGs), carbon dioxide (CO2) and those in the nitrogen oxide family (known as NOx to include both nitric oxide, NO, and nitrogen oxide, NO2). Aircraft emissions are even more potent in their effects than ground-based emissions as they are released directly into the atmosphere where they impact climate.

European scientists decided to combat aircraft emissions with re-design of the jet engine core, the central part of the jet engine and where the fuel is burned – and the emissions created. The core consists of the compressor that literally compresses the air, the combustor that mixes it with fuel and ignites it, and the high-pressure turbine that uses the hot gases produced to provide the plane’s thrust.

With EU funding of the ‘New aero engine core concepts’ (NEWAC) project, scientists sought to develop and validate new core configurations with increased thermal efficiency. Increasing the total work output of the engine relative to fuel consumed has the additional benefit of decreased CO2 and NOx emissions.

In order to reduce CO2 emissions, scientists investigated several options. These included increasing thermal efficiency via heat management, the use of active or adaptable components to control air flow (active clearance control, ACC) and the development of more efficient core components.

The team sought to reduce NOx emissions by the abovementioned techniques (as long as the combustion temperature was maintained) and by reducing the combustion temperature, as well as by innovations in combustor technology.

All concepts were assessed regarding environmental and economic impact. As a result, the consortium identified the most promising technologies for environmentally friendly and economical jet propulsion. NEWAC concepts promise to significantly reduce GHG emissions that most likely play an important role in global wamrming.

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