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NEW Aero engine Core concepts

Tags: Air


Global air traffic is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of around 5% in the next 20 years. This high level of growth makes the need to address the environmental penalties of air traffic all the more urgent. Consequently, Europe’s aviation industry faces a massive challenge to satisfy the demand whilst ensuring economic, safe and environmentally friendly air travel.

A first step to reach these 2020 objectives has been set-up through the Fifth and Sixth Framework Programme projects targeting noise, NOX and CO2 emission reductions. The recently started VITAL project is focusing on technologies for low-pressure system improvements to reduce CO2 and noise. There is, however, complementary research to be performed on combustor technologies along with the introduction of new engine configurations to reduce NOX emissions and further reduce CO2 to achieve the SRA 2020 objectives.

Alternative engine configurations consequently need to be researched in order to find a more significant and durable reduction of pollution. Such reductions can only be achieved by firstly considering new configurations with innovative components and secondly by integrating and optimising these components in new engines.


ACARE identified the research needs for the aeronautics industry for 2020: a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions per passenger-kilometre from the engine, whilst keeping the specific weight of the engine constant, and a significant reduction of the NOX emissions during the landing and take-off cycle in order to achieve the 80% reduction.

The existing programmes have already identified concepts and technologies to meet these goals. NEWAC will close the gap in the enabling technologies and will develop fully validated novel core engine technologies based on the results of past EC projects, which will deliver a further 6% reduction in CO2 emissions and a further 16% reduction in NOX emissions.

If these results are combined with the expected results of VITAL (low spool technology) and other national programmes, and the different technology readiness levels are taken into account, the ACARE targets can be attained at a Technology Readiness Level of 5.


Description of work

The innovations provided by NEWAC will include:

  • Intercooled Recuperative Aero Engine (IRA), which includes optimisation of the recuperator arrangement, an innovative duct design and a radial compressor;
  • Intercooled core, with compact and efficient intercoolers, aggressive ducting and an advanced compressor capable of performing at the extremely demanding conditions of the intercooled cycle. The intercooler is also a critical technology for the IRA concept which was not developed during the EEFAE-CLEAN programme.
  • Active core, with active heat management systems like active air cooling, active rotor venting system, smart compressor casing and active compressor flow control;
  • Flow controlled core with outer flow-path control technology from casing air aspiration applied on blades and vanes, new advanced 3D aerodynamic compressor design and robust rotor/stator tight clearance management;
  • Innovative combustors with LPP (lean premixed prevaporised) technology applied for low OPR engines (IRA), with PERM (partially evaporated rapid mixing) technology for low to medium OPR engines (engine with active heat management or flow controlled core) and LDI (lean direct injection) technology for medium to high overall pressure ratio (OPR) engines (intercooled engine).

The work in NEWAC is organised in seven sub-projects (SP):

  • SP 1 defines the requirements for the technologies to be researched and assessed at the whole engine level, and the corresponding benefits will lead to disseminating and exploiting the technology plans;
  • Four sub-projects (SP2 to SP5) cover the development of innovative and complementary solutions:
    • SP2 is on the Intercooled Recuperative Aero Engine (IRA engine) architecture (will provide the next step beyond the AEROHEX and CLEAN developments);
    • SP3 is on intercooled high OPR configuration, which will give the CO2 reductions associated with very high OPR whilst using the intercooler to avoid the associated NOX penalties;
    • SP4 is on active heat management core configuration to reduce CO2 without penalties for NOX;
    • SP5 proposes a flow controlled core, which is a post CLEAN, new generation technology contributing to efficiency gain;
  • SP6 will cover developments concerning innovative combustor solutions, which will complete the work done on new core configurations to support lean combustion;
  • SP0, a management and dissemination sub-project, will assure the coordination of the work, its dissemination outside the consortium, and proper exploitation and technology transfer.


NEWAC’s main result will be fully validated novel technologies enabling a 6% reduction in CO2 emissions and a further 16% reduction in NOX. Most importantly, the project will address the particular challenges involved in delivering these benefits whilst simultaneously contributing to the attainment of the ACARE targets.

All new configurations investigated in NEWAC will be compared, assessed and ranked according to their benefits and contributions to the global project targets. Detailed specifications will be provided for all innovative core configurations. As a result, NEWAC will identify the technology routes to environmentally friendly and economic propulsion solutions. The developed components will further result in optimised engine designs based on the NEWAC technologies, but also in combination with the results of the EEFAE, SILENCER and VITAL programmes.