Ultra low emission technology innovations for mid-century aircraft turbine engines
Paper in proceedings, 2016
Commercial transport fuel efficiency has improved dramatically since the early 1950s. In the coming decades the ubiquitous turbofan powered tube and wing aircraft configuration will be challenged by diminishing returns on investment with regards to fuel efficiency. From the engine perspective two routes to radically improved fuel efficiency are being explored; ultra-efficient low pressure systems and ultra-efficient core concepts. The first route is characterized by the development of geared and open rotor engine architectures but also configurations where potential synergies between engine and aircraft installations are exploited. For the second route, disruptive technologies such as intercooling, intercooling and recuperation, constant volume combustion as well as novel high temperature materials for ultra-high pressure ratio engines are being considered. This paper describes a recently launched European research effort to explore and develop synergistic combinations of radical technologies to TRL 2. The combinations are integrated into optimized engine concepts promising to deliver ultra-low emission engines. The paper discusses a structured technique to combine disruptive technologies and proposes a simple means to quantitatively screen engine concepts at an early stage of analysis. An evaluation platform for multidisciplinary optimization and scenario evaluation of radical engine concepts is outlined.