The European key aero-engine manufacturers in ELECT-AE1 are developing a strategy for the environmentally friendly combustion system.
The development of this joint research strategy involves complex interactions. However, it is believed that advanced low NOx technology is required and will be successful in the end.
The vision for 2020 as formulated by ACARE2 sets ambitious targets; especially the demand for 80% NOx and 50% CO2 emissions reduction from aviation with reference to the year 2000, requires focused and balanced research and technology initiatives for the near future. The aero-engines are committed to contribute 15 to 20 %-points to the CO2 emission target, other contributors being the air-framers (20-25%), operations and air traffic management (5-10%). The technology for a new generation of aero-engine combustors has to be prepared on a pre-competitive level of close cooperation and thus generating economic and ecological benefits for the European and the global Society. Targets have been developed, designed to support the establishment of a pre-competitive research strategy consisting of actual measures and actions in the context of combustion system technology for low emissions of pollutants:
- Strategy on technology development,
- Integration & strengthening of the European Research Area,
- Enhancement of exploitation in Europe,
- Dissemination of European research results and exchange of information in Europe,
- Search and identification of Small-Medium Size Enterprises and new research partners in the EU25.
The conclusion is that the optimisation of the combustion process is an essential means to reducing NOx production from aero-engines. It has to be noted that advanced low NOx combustion technology contributes to fuel burn reduction by enabling cycles with higher pressures and bypass ratios, with higher turbine entry temperatures and by reducing cooling air and combustor pressure losses. Research on highly innovative architectures has to be carried out to reduce complexity, size and weight of ultra-low NOx combustion systems.
Due to the extremely complex nature of this technological field and the fact that the development of ultra-low NOx technology has by far not yet reached production readiness level, it will not be possible to down-select the successful combustion technology in the near future.
The full paper “Strategy for environmentally friendly low emissions combustion development in European aeronautics” can be downloaded here.
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