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Environmentally Friendly Aero-Engine


As the Kyoto Protocol comes into force in 2005, requiring developed countries to reduce their CO 2 emissions and prioritise the environment, VITAL is looking into significantly reducing noise, fuel use and polluting emissions from aircraft. This aim falls within the ambitions of the ACARE, which has set two goals addressed by VITAL for 2020: cutting in half both perceived aircraft noise and CO 2 emissions. VITAL works along the same lines and complements two EU projects funded under the 5th Framework Programme, EEFAE and SILENCE(R).

Project objectives

VITAL will provide a major advance in developing the next generation commercial aircraft engine technologies, enabling the European aero-engine industry to produce high–performance, low-noise and low-emission engines at an affordable cost for the benefit of their customers, air passengers and society at large.

The main objective of VITAL is to develop and validate engine technologies that will provide:

  • 6 dB noise reduction per aircraft operation and equivalent to a cumulative margin of 15-18 EPNdB on the three certification measurement points
  • 7% reduction in CO 2 emissions.

This is with regard to engines in service prior to 2000.

VITAL will integrate the benefits and the results of on-going research projects with regard to weight reduction (EEFAE) and noise reduction (SILENCE(R)) technologies, assess at a whole engine level their benefits and combine their outcomes with those of VITAL to enable, by the end of the project in 2008, the following:

  • 8 dB Noise reduction per aircraft operation (cumulative ~24 EPNdB on the 3 certification measurement points)
  • 18% reduction in CO 2 emissions.
Schematic of a Contra-Rotating Turbo Fan, one of the three Very High By-Pass Ratio engine architectures to be studied as part the VITAL Integrated Project.
Schematic of a Contra-Rotating Turbo Fan, one of the three Very High By-Pass Ratio engine architectures to be studied as part the VITAL Integrated Project.

Description of the work

The objective of VITAL will be achieved through the design, manufacture and rig-scale testing of the following innovative technologies and architectures:

  • two innovative low-speed fan architectures for:
    • Direct Drive Turbo Fan (DDTF) and Geared Turbo Fan (GTF)
    • Contra-Rotating Turbo Fan (CRTF)
This will include intensive use of lightweight materials to minimise the weight penalty of Very High Bypass Ratio (VHBR) engines.

new high-speed and low-speed low-pressure compressor concepts and technologies for weight and size reduction

  • new lightweight structures using new materials as well as innovative structural design and manufacturing techniques
  • new shaft technologies enabling the high torque needed by the new fan concepts through the development of innovative materials and concepts
  • new low-pressure turbine technologies for weight and noise reduction, suited to any of the new fan concepts
  • optimal installation of VHBR engines related to nozzle, nacelle, reverser and positioning to optimise weight, noise and fuel burn reductions.

All these technologies will be evaluated through preliminary engine studies for the three architectures, DDTF, GTF and CRTF.

To achieve the VITAL objectives, different modules of an engine have been considered, some being generic and usable in all three engine types, while some others are specific. Consequently, the work in VITAL is organised into seven technical sub-projects and a sub- project (Sub-Project 0) for management and dissemination activities. The technical sub-projects are split according to each part of the engine. A transversal sub-project (Sub Project 1) ensures the modules’ good integration by:

  • defining module requirements
  • assessing the three main engine architectures: DDTF, GTF and CRTF.

VITAL will research, design and develop technologies regarding:

  • innovative fan design (lightweight fan and contra fan technologies) – Sub Project 2
  • high-load booster design and technologies – Sub Project 3
  • lightweight hot and cold structures – Sub Project 4
  • novel materials and concept for low-pressure engine shafts – Sub Project 5
  • high-loaded and high-lift low noise and lightweight, low-pressure turbines – Sub Project 6
  • nacelle design and aircraft installation– Sub Project 7.

Expected results

VITAL will result in the validation of the consortium’s capability of producing innovative VHBR engine architectures. This will be carried out via design, manufacture and rig tests on engine modules. Specific project results will be:

  • two fully instrumented fans (DDTF & CRTF)
  • a fan rotor, a fan casing and a structural fan stator
  • two low-pressure compressor boosters (low-speed and high-speed)
  • new lightweight materials and material forms (polymer matrix composites and titanium)
  • composite high torque shafts
  • turbines for DDTF/GTF applications
  • nozzle installation under the wing
  • guidelines for the development of 2020 engines.