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Graphic element Research > Growth > Research projects > Aeronautics projects > Clean engines herald environment-friendly future
Graphic element Clean engines herald environment-friendly future

In March 2000, the European Commission launched its largest-ever aero-engine research programme, costing a total of 101 million. The purpose of the Efficient and Environmentally Friendly Aero Engine (EEFAE) project is to develop the advanced technology needed to maintain European industry's competitive position as a supplier of advanced turbofan engines for next generation of commercial jet aircraft.

EEFAE is a technology platform that integrates previously funded research programmes within a broad, future-oriented industry strategy. Its objective is to achieve a step change in both the efficiency and environmental friendliness of gas-turbine-based aero engines, so that customers and operators worldwide can benefit from cleaner, quieter, safer and more economical travel in the new millennium.

Cutting CO2 emissions through reduced fuel burn and reducing NOx levels will deliver a major contribution to long-term environmental protection. Additional goals include lowering life cycle costs by 30% and improving reliability by 60%.

Fast to market

Under EEFAE, the aim is to develop engine concepts for both wide- and narrow-bodied aircraft, and to halve the time needed to bring the new technologies to market. Engines based on the new technologies are expected to begin entering commercial service from 2008 to 2015.

This work stems from a co-operative effort started in 1998 by members of the European Engine Industry Management Group, a forum of leading engineering companies that meets regularly to exchange views and share research results. The new initiative involves 19 partners from nine countries with overall co-ordination by Rolls-Royce. Two of the partners are universities, which are fully supported by the EC, while the remainder are research establishments and industrial companies participating on a shared cost basis.

Short to medium term application

Rolls-Royce will lead the short to medium term development. Known as the ANTLE (Affordable Near Term Low Emissions) engine, this is based on an advanced three-shaft unit incorporating a smaller number of higher efficiency components than at present.

Major new elements will be a high-pressure compressor and intermediate- and low-pressure turbines. Further innovations will include a low-cost turbine rear frame, revised lubrication system and distributed engine controls. The project will also incorporate a new HP turbine and dual annular combustor currently under development in the UK.

Rolls-Royce Germany is responsible for the high-pressure (HP) compressor, while FiatAvio will deliver the intermediate-pressure turbine and Industria de Turbo Propulsores (ITP) in Spain takes the lead for the low-pressure turbine. Other participants include Eldim, Hispano-Suiza, Howmet, Spain's INTA institute, Lucas, Calidus of the UK, Techspace Aero and Volvo Aero. Also involved in the ANTLE project are the universitiesof Florence in Italy and Luleå of Sweden. The partners' targets are a reduction of at least 10% in CO2 emissions and 60% in NOx by 2008.

  Medium to long term application

The narrow-body group CLEAN (Component vaLidator for Environmentally friendly Aero eNgine), headed by Snecma Moteurs from France and DaimlerChrysler Aerospace affiliate MTU, also includes several of the ANTLE members. Eldim, Fiat, Techspace Aero and Volvo are joined by ESIL of Ireland and the institute CEPR in what will be a longer-term approach involving heat exchanger know-how that has so far been little used in aero engine construction. The goal is to validate in CLEAN some core technologies for a future Intercooled Recuperated Aero-engine (IRA) concept, which is capable of significantly reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

CLEAN will incorporate an improved, high efficiency HP compressor with active surge control, a low emissions axially staged combustor and high temperature HP turbine from Snecma. FiatAvio will support the design and manufacture of the combustor module. A new structural inter-turbine frame and a two/three-stage low pressure (LP) turbine will be provided by MTU. A low-cost turbine exhaust rear frame will be designed by Volvo. A new heat exchanger segment will be located in the LP turbine exhaust stream. The latter addition, derived from an MTU design, will decrease the fuel burn and substantially reduce the CO2 output.

Overall, the goal is to cut emissions by 20% for CO2 and a remarkable 80% for NOx. However, because of the considerable technical challenges to be faced, flight testing of a future IRA engine is unlikely to take place until 2015, while commercial service will not commence before 2020. The CLEAN engine will nevertheless be tested on a rig at the CEPR centre in Saclay, France, from mid-2003.

  Industry and public benefits

Europe's aero-engine industry currently employs 77,000 people, with many other jobs dependent on its success. The four-year EEFAE project will enable manufacturers to acquire the advanced technology necessary to consolidate their market share in a business now worth 10 billion and forecast to treble over the next 20 years. This will encourage the development and growth of new and existing SMEs. At the same time, reduced emissions will facilitate sustainable growth and increase opportunities for more recreational air travel and an improved quality of leisure time for citizens in Europe and around the world.

Fast to market
Short to medium term application
Medium to long term application
Industry and public benefits

Key data

The Efficient and Environmentally Friendly Aero Engine (EEFAE) technology platform is funded through the New perspectives in aeronautics key action and has 15 partners from nine countries. It involves two projects:

ANTLE - the Affordable Near Term Low Emissions engine; and
CLEAN - the Component vaLidator for Environmentally friendly Aero eNgine.

A number of fundamental technology projects will complement the proposed activities.

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