Geared Turbofan™ Technology as Part of FAA Sustainability Program
EAST HARTFORD, Conn., Oct. 13, 2017 – Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX), recently completed over 175 hours of ground testing of a next-generation Geared Turbofan (GTF) engine propulsor technology as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) program, an FAA NextGen initiative to accelerate the development of environmentally-friendly aircraft technologies. The full-scale test, conducted in West Palm Beach, Fla., marks exactly 10 years since Pratt & Whitney first successfully demonstrated the GTF engine, a revolutionary new engine that delivers 16 percent better fuel efficiency, 50 percent fewer emissions and a 75 percent smaller noise footprint.
This advancement builds on the completion of 275 hours of fan rig testing of the technology in 2014 and 2015. The demonstrator used an existing development engine from a certified Geared TurboFan product to validate the performance capability of a second-generation, ultra-high bypass fan design. The engine successfully operated in a design space never before demonstrated with significantly fewer lower-pressure ratio blades than the current production engine, and a shorter duct inlet. The rig and engine tests are expected to demonstrate a suite of technologies that will help decrease fuel burn an additional 2 percent.
A key element in the technology maturation is the development and application of highly-integrated Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) tools, a key capability of United Technologies Corporation, which provided accurate predictions and design guidance to enable rig-to-engine scalability and optimized performance. A comprehensive aerodynamic, aeromechanical and acoustic test program showed the technology contributing significantly to meeting FAA CLEEN fuel burn, emissions and acoustic program goals, demonstrating again UTC’s leadership in technology and manufacturing.
“The success of this ground test is an important step in taking our Geared Turbofan engine technology to the next level,” said Alan Epstein, vice president of Technology and Environment for Pratt & Whitney. “With our partners in the FAA, we can ensure that the next generation of the GTF engine – already itself a game-changer – is on the cutting edge of performance and sustainability, keeping the environment and the communities that surround airports in mind.”
Pratt & Whitney continues to advance the compressor and turbine technology in collaboration with the FAA as part of the CLEEN II program, a follow-on program that develops and demonstrates aircraft technology and alternative jet fuels.
The FAA, a division of the United States Department of Transportation, is the national aviation authority for the United States. Initially founded in 1958, and later renamed in 1966, the FAA’s mission is to “provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world.” The FAA is responsible for regulating the air transportation industry and maintains a nationwide network of air traffic control systems. The Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) program is an FAA initiative to accelerate the development of environmentally friendly aircraft technologies. The program is part of Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) and focuses on the reduction of aircraft noise, emissions and fuel burn.