Several major US aerospace companies – including Boeing, GE Aviation, Honeywell Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney – have won US government contracts to develop emission- and noise-reducing aerospace technologies.
The Federal Aviation Administration has awarded $100 million in funds to those companies and others as part of its Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise Program, also called CLEEN, the agency says on 10 September.
Other companies to land contracts are Delta Air Lines’ MRO shop Delta TechOps and UK company GKN Aerospace.
The manufacturers have agreed to match the FAA’s $100 million investment, bringing the combined expected investment in the latest and third phase of the CLEEN project to $200 million. The effort will last five years.
GE will use its funds to help finance development an “open-fan engine architecture”, the Ohio-based engine maker says. Such designs are similar to turbofans, but their fans are not encased in nacelles and containment rings, but rather exposed, allowing for greater bypass ratios, which equates to improved efficiency.
GE will also develop technologies related to electrification, “advanced thermal management” and noise reduction. It will “test new combustor technology designs that lower nitrogen oxides” and “mature an electric machine that is a critical part of an overall integrated-electric power-generation system”.
In June, the engine maker and partner Safran Aircraft Engines revealed they were pursuing similar technologies as part of a development programme called RISE (short for revolutionary innovation for sustainable engines). They aim for RISE – which is led by GE- and Safran-owned CFM International – to develop an open-fan engine for the 2030s that is 20% more efficient.
P&W’s CLEEN efforts include developing “an ultra-quiet engine fan and an advanced combustion system to reduce noise, emissions and fuel consumption”, says the FAA.
Boeing’s contribution involves reducing the noise created by aircraft wings, landing gear and engine inlets. The airframer has been pursuing similar goals through its “ecoDemonstrator” project.
Honeywell’s CLEEN contract calls for it to develop a “more-efficient fan, combustion system, compressor and turbine to reduce noise, emissions and fuel consumption.”
Several companies, including Delta TechOps and GKN, will jointly create “erosion-resistant fan blade coatings”, says the FAA.
Through CLEEN, the FAA aims to develop technologies that reduce aircraft noise by 25db and cut fuel burn 20%, with an in-service target of 2031.
The agency kicked off the CLEEN project in 2010 and invested $225 million in first and second phases. Previous participating companies have included Boeing, GE, Honeywell and P&W.