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Brussels, March 1, 2000

Europe's Biggest Aero Engine Research Programme Develops Environmental Technology


Keywords: aeronautics, environment

Today the European Commission launched its largest ever aero engine research programme, costing over 100 million euros, to develop the advanced, efficient and environmentally friendly technology needed for the next generation of aircraft.

The objective of the Efficient and Environmentally Friendly Aero Engine (EEFAE) technology platform is to achieve a step change in both the efficiency and environmental benefits of gas-turbine-based aero engines so that customers and operators worldwide can benefit from the environmental improvements required in the new millennium. (A Technology Platform is a vehicle that integrates previously funded research programmes with an industrial strategy in a results-driven programme to validate technology for future products).

Under the EEFAE contract, which is worth 101 million euros and involves partners from nine countries (15 from industry and two universities), two engine concepts will be developed. The research is funded through the aeronautics "key action" of the EU's Competitive and Sustainable Growth programme - part of the Fifth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. The overall programme and one concept will be led by Rolls-Royce plc, with the second concept being led by Snecma and MTU.

The programme will integrate results from a range of European, national and company-funded research projects in order to bring crucial technical and environmental benefits to the market in half the time normally required.

Technology projects will complement the proposed activities and this approach will ensure that the improvements generated by this programme will start entering service from 2008.

The programme's main objective is to deliver a major contribution from aviation to the global environment through a reduction in C02 emissions by achieving a lower fuel burn. A reduction in NOx will also improve health and quality of life, and contribute to the long-term protection of the environment.

Significant technology research in turbomachinery and combustion systems is planned to obtain the targeted improvements, which also include reducing the cost of ownership through reliability and maintainability improvements that will in turn contribute to enhancing the safety of air travel.

The technology platform will enable the European engine industry to acquire the necessary advanced technology to meet the growing demand for cleaner, more energy-efficient engines in a business which is forecast to treble over the next 20 years. This expansion will encourage the development and growth of both new and existing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

This EU-funded programme will make a significant contribution to the quality of life, health and safety of citizens within Europe and around the world. Reduced emissions will facilitate sustainable economic growth to increase the opportunity for more recreational air travel and improved quality of leisure time for an increasing number of people.

The European aero engine industry employs 77 000 people, with many other jobs dependent on its success. It generates a turnover of 10 billion euros and accounts for 30 per cent of European civil aerospace exports.

For further information, please contact:

Reiner Dunker
Scientific Officer, Research DG
Fax: +32.2.29.66757
E-mail: Reiner.Dunker@ec.europa.eu

Stephen Gosden
Press and Information Officer, Research DG
Fax: +32.2.29.58220
E-mail: Stephen.Gosden@ec.europa.eu

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PRESS RELEASES | 01.03.2000