Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


ULTIMATE Report Summary

Project ID: 633436
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.4.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ULTIMATE (Ultra Low emission Technology Innovations for Mid-century Aircraft Turbine Engines)

Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2017-02-28

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The ULTIMATE project strives to develop radical gas turbine aero-engines concepts to Technological Readiness Level (TRL) 2 providing 12% higher thermal efficiency and 2% higher propulsive efficiencies beyond the ultra-efficient powerplants expected to enter service in the year 2050. The engine concepts are based on the integration and combination of radical technologies (e.g. intercooling, recuperation, piston topping, nutating disc topping, pulse detonation, inter-turbine burning, and bottoming cycles) targeting reductions in the three major sources of lost work potential: combustor irreversibility; core exhaust heat rejection; and excess of kinetic energy in the propulsive jets. The main objective is attaining the five ambitious key targets of the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda for the year 2050 (SRIA 2050):
1. Meeting societal and market need
• ULTIMATE will adapt and validate propulsion concepts for short range intra-European and long range intercontinental flights, flexible flight missions with cruise altitudes from 30000 to 45000 ft, and for gate to gate times equal to or better than state-of-the-art.

2. Maintaining and extending industrial leadership
• Develop propulsion system, technology and top-level module requirements to TRL 2 for 2050 radical propulsion configurations.
• Provide advanced whole engine and innovative technology analysis methods, PhDs and senior researchers with deep knowledge of multi-disciplinary propulsion analysis available for recruitment.
• Exploit a working process based on continuous cooperation between industry and academia.
• Provide four internal workshops and a public workshop on future engine technologies.

3. Protecting the environment and the energy supply
This target will be addressed within ULTIMATE by:
• Reduction in energy consumption and carbon dioxide by 15% stemming from ULTIMATE propulsion technologies alone. Global reduction of 68% relative to year 2000 state-of-the-art, distributed as (multiplicative): 43% engine system level, 7% engine integration level and 40% airframe level.
• 20% reduction in total mission and cruise nitrogen oxide stemming from ULTIMATE propulsion technologies alone. Global reduction of 87% relative to year 2000 state-of-the-art. 75% reduction of the Landing-Take-Off cycle nitrogen oxide relative to CAEP/6.
• Contribution for a 3 dB reduction in noise per operation stemming from ULTIMATE propulsion technologies alone and globally by 15 dB relative to year 2000 state-of-the-art.

4. Ensuring safety and security
• ULTIMATE will demonstrate the compatibility of radical technologies with severe operating conditions and redundancy requirements for flight safety.

5. Prioritising research, testing capabilities and education
• Further develop the European academic network of Centres of Excellence in conceptual engine design
• Provide multi-objective, multidisciplinary analysis methods for complete radical propulsion systems and supporting innovative technologies

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The ULTIMATE project started with the establishment of gas turbine technology levels estimated to be available by 2050. Reference 2050 state of the art engine architectures were also developed to support the technology assumptions (not including ULTIMATE technology). These include an ultra-high bypass ratio geared turbofan, for long range applications, and a counter rotating open-rotor for intra-European operation. These engines were developed in order to meet the specifications of the advance tube and wing aircraft models, also developed within ULTIMATE for the year 2050 time-frame.
The main tasks of the project were dedicated to explore synergies between different radical core technologies including intercooling, recuperation, inter-turbine combustion, topping and bottoming cycles. The core technology development was complemented with the development of advanced propulsion and integration systems, aiming to comply with the anticipated noise regulations and to provide the necessary variability to enable ultra-low specific thrust and associated improvements in propulsive efficiency. Preferred configurations, which include combinations of the aforementioned technologies, were down-selected and ranked against fuel burn improvements relative to the ULTIMATE reference 2050 engine architectures.
To support the assessment of the down-selected configurations, a multi-objective and multi-disciplinary evaluation platform for the 2050 time-frame is being developed including the following key evaluation modules: engine performance, general arrangement, noise, gas emissions and weight prediction; aircraft performance and noise; operation cost; policy scenario evaluation.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

ULTIMATE brings together five experienced research groups and four major European engine manufactures to foster the development of innovative propulsion systems. These systems rely on the incorporation of radical concepts into proven technology aiming to bring step like improvements in the thermal and propulsive efficiencies of state of the art gas turbine aero-engines. The project is now in its intermediate reporting period and therefore progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact is difficult to evaluate. Nonetheless several achievements can already be claimed:
• Identification and down-selection of a number of synergistic combinations of engine core technology.
• Development of new methods to simulate new core technologies.
• Implementation of state of the art aeroacoustics methods into existing CFD codes targeting noise prediction in novel Boxprop propellers and existing counter rotating open-rotors.
• Down-selection of radical nacelle variability concepts as enablers for ultra-low specific thrust turbofans.
• Development and implementation of variable pitch fans maps into existing engine performance codes.
• ULTIMATE Industry forecast for year 2050 gas turbine technology levels.
• Development of aircraft and engine performance models with 2050 technology levels.
• Development of multi-disciplinary optimization tool for 2050 entry into service power-plants and aircraft (performance, weight, noise, operating cost and policy).
The expected impact can be measured by assessing the current achievements in terms of their alignment with the project goals, which are themselves well aligned with the ambitious SRIA 2050 challenges. The combination of some technologies and installation into an advance tube and wing aircraft resulted in promising performance levels close to reach the pre-established SRIA target of 75% reduction in CO2. Industrial leadership has been and will be constantly promoted by the organization of internal workshops, allowing for industry awareness, advice and engagement on the development of ULTIMATE technologies. Education and research is prioritize through the recruitment of several PhD students and senior researchers. ULTIMATE project impact has been and will be continuously maximized by participating in several workshops, forums and conferences. A public workshop will be organized at Farnborough Air Show 2018 were the final results will be presented together with technology mock-ups for some of the most promising developed technologies.

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