|The core of a jet engine provides power to operate the fan and some thrust. Click to enlarge. Source: GE Aviation|
GE Aviation has launched a new engine core program, called “eCore,” as the technology cornerstone for a new generation of jet engines for narrow-body, regional, and business jets with 200 passengers and fewer. The program is designed to offer aircraft operators up to 16% better fuel efficiency over GE’s best engines in operation today.
The engine core—comprising the compressor, combustor, and high-pressure turbine—is the heart of a jet engine. To this core, the fan system is attached to complete a jet engine. The fan provides thrust; the core provides the power to operate the fan and some thrust.
Leveraging GEnx technologies (earlier post), the eCore program features advanced materials (such as ceramic matrix composites), unique cooling technologies, next generation TAPS (Twin-Annular, Premixed, Swirler) combustor for efficient and cleaner fuel combustion, and new 3-D aerodynamic design airfoils.
|Cross section through a Twin-Annular Premixed Swirler (TAPS) burner showing fuel nozzle and swirler arrangement. Click to enlarge. Source: GE Aviation|
TAPS, used in the GEnx program, features two annular fuel-air swirlers adjacent to nested fuel nozzles. The swirl creates a more homogeneous and leaner mix of fuel and air, which burns at lower temperatures than in previous jet engine designs. The lower temperatures generated in the TAPS combustor results in significantly lower NOx levels. For example, at comparative thrust levels, GEnx NOx emissions will be more than 30% lower than the NOx emissions of GE’s highly popular CF6 engines powering commercial widebody aircraft today. The GEnx emissions goal at entry into service is to be about 50% below the new NOx limits to be established in 2008.
The first eCore will run in 2009 for GE’s joint technology efforts with Snecma (SAFRAN Group) on the next-generation CFM engine for narrow-body aircraft. CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of Snecma and GE, is the world’s most successful commercial jet engine program.
For several years, GE Aviation has invested more than $1 billion annually in research & development, leading to an array of successful new engines, including the GE90-115B, GP7200, GEnx, CF34 regional jet family, and GE Honda HF120. These engines include technologies unique in aviation to GE, such as composite fan blades on the GE90 and GEnx, composite fan case and TAPS combustor on the GEnx.
More than 23,000 CFM and GE engines now power commercial aircraft in service, represeneting the largest installed base of airline jet engines.
H. Mongia (2003) TAPS: A Fourth Generation Propulsion Combustor Technology for Low Emissions, AIAA-2003-2657
- GE Aviation Low Emissions Combustion Technology Evolution (H. Mongia presentation, 2008)