Alternatives Fuels & Engine Technology

The goals defined by the Advisory Council for Aeronautical Research in Europe (ACARE) for 2020 include a 50% reduction of CO2, a 50% reduction of external noise and an 80% reduction of NOx emissions. Achieving these goals requires airframe and engine improvements, changes to operational procedures, fuels from renewable energy sources, and fuel additives.

The engine alone has to contribute to the overall ACARE targets with a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions per passenger-kilometre, a 10 dB noise reduction per certification point and an 80% reduction in NOx emissions. Innovative approaches and engine configurations have been proposed and so far have shown positive results. At the same time the implementation of alternative fuels in aviation has shown promising results regarding the levels of the emitted pollutants.

ECATS has many years of experience in performance modelling of current and future engine configurations, investigating pollutant formation and characterisation of engine emissions. We also have access to required computational and experimental infrastructures. With respect to environmental competitiveness, particular consideration is given to the effect of reduced emissions of other important exhaust components, and to the possible environmental impact of fuel from renewable sources and fuel additives.

The steps that ECATS takes regarding the aero-engine emissions are in view of the ACARE 2020 objectives regarding the Engine Contribution:

  • Reduction of noise by 6db at each certification point.

This target was tackled in FP5 by the IP SILENCER that dealt with evolutionary technologies and noise reduction technologies on conventional aircraft/engine configuration and in FP6 by VITAL that used novel engine architecture for noise and fuel burn reduction and more specifically on Conventional Fan, Geared Fan and Contra-rotating Fan architectures.

  • Reduction of CO2 by 20%.
  • Reduction of NOx by 80%.

These goals were targeted during FP5 (mainly) by the following IPs:

  • ANTLE that managed reductions of 12% in CO2 and 60% in NOx.
  • CLEAN that managed reductions (in a partial demonstration) of 20% in CO2 and 80% in NOx.

Again during FP6 the following IPs came up with the following improvements:

  • VITAL with reductions of 20% in CO2, mainly from propulsive efficiency.
  • NEWAC with reductions of 20%, mainly from thermal efficiency.

There were also 30-35 STREPs with engine leadership during FP6 alone, dealing with the following technologies related to combustion for lower emissions.

  • • Turbine and compressor aerodynamics and technologies.
  • • Advanced control systems.
  • • Advanced material technologies.
  • • Manufacturing technologies.
  • • Advanced monitoring and measurement systems.
  • • Engine noise (modelling, testing, etc).

ECATS partners have been participating in most the aforementioned IPs and in many of these STREPs, and therefore possess the relevant capabilities to continue the improvements regarding aero-engine emissions reductions.

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