More efficient plane engines ready for take-off

An EU-funded project is advancing technology that will enable new, more fuel-efficient and quieter aircraft engines to take to the skies.

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Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


  Infocentre

Published: 24 April 2018  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
EnvironmentAtmosphere
Research policyHorizon 2020
TransportAeronautics
Countries involved in the project described in the article
France  |  Greece  |  Netherlands  |  Spain  |  United Kingdom
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More efficient plane engines ready for take-off

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The latest developments in aircraft engine technology are expected to lead to significant reductions in the amount of fuel burnt by aeroplanes, as well as reducing fuel and noise emissions from aviation.

Fitting ultra-high bypass ratio (UHBR) turbofan engines into aircraft requires the redesign and improvements in the systems and equipment around the engine. While the new engine equipment is vital to the launch of the innovative UHBR engine, it will also keep European aviation companies at the forefront of the global aero-engine market and deliver benefits for climate and society by reducing carbon emissions. This is the challenge that the EU-funded NIPSE project is tackling.

NIPSE scientists are developing novel electrical and pneumatic interconnections, highly efficient heat exchangers and multivariable optimisation technologies known as integrated power plant system equipment (IPPS). They are also looking at ways to integrate this equipment in an aircraft engine and its casing, or nacelle, in a quick and cost-efficient way.

“We are hoping to reduce the size and weight of the new IPPS engine equipment by 15 %,” says Iain Minton, UK technical director at Safran Nacelles and NIPSE project coordinator. “This would help cut the amount of time needed to develop the new, highly efficient powerplants by 10 % with our improved integration approach. Moreover, we would like to reduce the time needed to access the engine to carry out maintenance in the engine nacelle.”

Reducing fuel burn

UHBR technologies work by improving the propulsion efficiency of an aircraft engine. They boost the amount of air drawn in through the aircraft engine’s fan disk, which then passes through the aircraft engine nacelle, without the need for more energy. This higher air volume creates a more efficient thrust and is expected to save up to 3 % of fuel used compared to today’s engines.

To make the new technology work, and reduce the fuel burnt, NIPSE technologies need to come into play. When developing the solutions, researchers must also focus on where engines and nacelles are placed on an aircraft, suitable operability control devices and developing a shorter, slimmer nacelle that is lighter than current models.

These developments must take up less space, operate at high temperatures and be highly reliable and easy to maintain – key targets for NIPSE scientists.

The new engines are expected to contribute to EU targets for reductions in carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions, as well as cutting noise emissions. They are also set to reduce the fuel costs for the aviation industry – costs that are estimated to take up around 40 % of a company’s total operating costs by 2030, compared to 13 % in 2000.

Breakthrough technologies

“We are working on the technology that will enable European companies to deliver breakthrough aero-engines for the next generation of medium- to long-range aircraft,” says Minton.

Some technologies developed by the NIPSE project will be available within the next five years, he says. Once this is established, the next step would be for the technological solutions developed by the project to be used in other industrial engines, such as new propulsion solutions like hybrid or distributed power, or to support other engine architectures such as rotorcraft or turboprop applications.

Project details

  • Project acronym: NIPSE
  • Participants: France (Coordinator), Spain, Greece, Netherlands, UK
  • Project N°: 636218
  • Total costs: € 6 235 001
  • EU contribution: € 6 235 001
  • Duration: June 2015 to May 2018

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