Pratt & Whitney Begins Ground Testing on Geared Turbofan Demonstrator Engine Ahead of Schedule; Targeting 12%+ Improvements in Fuel Burn
|The geared turbofan uses a special drive gear system to allow the fan to operate at a different speed from that of the low-pressure compressor and turbine. Click to enlarge.|
Pratt & Whitney’s Geared Turbofan (GTF) demonstrator engine successfully completed its first ground test, ahead of schedule, at the company’s advanced test facility in West Palm Beach, Florida. The full-scale demonstrator engine successfully started and ran, marking the beginning of a ground test program that will run through May 2008.
The Geared Turbofan engine targets a more than 12% improvement in fuel burn with significant reductions in engine noise, environmental emissions and operating costs. In a Geared Turbofan engine, a state-of-the-art fan drive gear system allows the engine’s fan to operate at a speed different from that of the low-pressure compressor and turbine, resulting in greater fuel efficiency and a slower fan speed which results in less noise.
For aircraft of 70 to 150 passenger size, the Geared Turbofan engine reduces the fuel burned, and thus the CO2 produced, by more than 12% compared to today’s aircraft, while reducing cumulative noise levels about 20dB below the current Stage 4 regulations. This noise level, which is about half the level of today’s engines, is the equivalent difference between standing near a garbage disposal running and listening to the sound of my voice right now.
Our Geared Turbofan engine offers a balanced approach to engine noise, fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. We continue to work on more advanced technology that will offer still lower noise and fuel burn in the future. An advanced Geared Turbofan engine will deliver the low fuel burn and CO2 output of the giant supersonic propellers now being studied, without the inherent noise disadvantages. Indeed in the future, it will be possible to design aircraft in which the primary noise sources are not the engines but are instead the airframe itself.—Alan H. Epstein, Vice President, Technology and Environment, Pratt & Whitney
|The geared turbofan approach breaks the current linkage between lower noise and higher fuel burn. Click to enlarge.|
The Geared Turbofan engine is part of Pratt & Whitney’s technology readiness program for the next generation of commercial aircraft. The company is actively testing key components on 15 test rigs around the world; flight testing on Pratt & Whitney’s 747 flying test bed will begin in mid-2008.
On Oct. 9, 2007, Pratt & Whitney announced that the Geared Turbofan engine was selected by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. to power the new proposed Mitsubishi Regional Jet. The sole-source agreement is the first airframe application for the Geared Turbofan engine, which is scheduled to enter service in 2013.
Pratt & Whitney has more than 17,000 aircraft engines installed with hundreds of airlines throughout the world. Additionally, Pratt & Whitney is a leading partner in two joint venture companies that manufacture commercial aircraft engines: International Aero Engines, which makes the V2500 engine for the Airbus A320 family of aircraft, and the Engine Alliance, whose GP7200 engine is FAR 33 certified for the new Airbus A380 aircraft.
(A hat-tip to Anthony!)