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Boeing updates 737 MAX engine configuration; 10-12% lower fuel burn than current 737

Boeing’s 737 MAX program (earlier post) has selected a 68-inch fan diameter for the optimized engine design that will provide what the company projects will be the lowest fuel burn and operating costs in the single-aisle market. The new 737 family will be powered by CFM International LEAP-1B engines (earlier post); the new engine variant will have 10-12% lower fuel burn than current 737s and a 7% operating cost advantage over the competition, Boeing said.

The 737 is a more efficient, lighter design and requires less thrust than other airplanes in this class, which is important because weight and thrust have a significant effect on fuel efficiency and operating costs. With airlines facing rising fuel costs and weight-based costs equating to nearly 30 percent of an airline’s operating costs, this optimized 68-inch fan design will offer a smaller, lighter and more fuel-efficient engine to ensure we maintain the current advantage we have over the competition.

—John Hamilton, 737 Chief Program Engineer

The airplane will have the capacity for increased range while providing better fuel efficiency. When compared to a fleet of 100 of today’s most fuel-efficient airplanes, this new model will emit 277,000 fewer tons of CO2 and save nearly 175 million pounds of fuel per year, which translates into $85 million in cost savings. Boeing expects the 737 MAX fuel burn to be 16% than Airbus’s current offering and 4% lower than their future offering in this space. Airbus will also be using LEAP engines in its A320neo. COMAC also intends to apply LEAP engines in its C919.

Boeing has received more than 600 order commitments received to date from eight airlines, up from 496 airplanes from five airlines when the program launched in August.

The program is on schedule with internal configuration milestones of the new jet, with a continued focus on engagement with customers and partners to optimize the engine core architecture. Firm configuration for the airplane is scheduled for 2013. First flight for the 737 MAX is scheduled in 2016 with deliveries to customers beginning in 2017.

Comments

HarveyD

This is a valuable effort. Airbus and Bombardier will have very similar fuel saving airplanes flying about two years sooner. Lighter weight composites could reduce fuel consumption by another 4% to 5%.

Engineer-Poet

It's a pity that the market won't support development of revolutionary advances like the "double-bubble fuselage". If fuel prices are high enough to make them attractive, the airline industry has no money for new fleets.

HarveyD

As for road vehicles, more efficient planes such as the double-bubble NASA/MIT concept, will not be built, unless mandated and/or fuel cost is 2X to 4X current level. Relying on free enterprise (including oil producers) to reduce fuel consumption is a dream that may never come true.

Reel$$

I don't know Harvey, you two seem to contradict. As demand for oil decreases the producers will continue to lower prices - trying to stretch profits as long as possible. The jet fuel market shows no sign of decreasing in the future (until antigrav.) If design efficiencies stretch MPG of jet fuel significantly enough to save money - they'll implement them.

With the AGW and CO2 campaign gone - engineering will need to return on investment in customer satisfaction - rather than imaginary climate fears.

Engineer-Poet

If the price of crude drops significantly, the drilling and field re-work effort which supports current extraction levels will grind to a halt. The rate of decline in that event will be on the order of 6% per year, which exceeds the pace of any feasible efficiency effort.

Crude prices can only be lowered by demand collapse, and absent a radical change in the energy economy that mean economic collapse.

Reel$$

There will be a change in the energy economy as I just noted to Harvey regarding home oil heating. As a portion of the 111M single family homes in the US convert to CCHP, after amortization of the capital cost - monthly energy bills will end. THAT money is then recirculated in local economies, invested, saved, used for education, etc. More families will keep more of their hard earned money.

But certain factions will suffer. Oil producers and service entities. Government who will no longer have a taxable commodity to rely on. And manufacturers of fossil fuel burning equipment. They, like the ice house of the past - will cease to exist.

HarveyD

In our current free enterprise economy, only changes with high company profit potential will be done. Knowing that, CCHP and similar common sense endeavors may be buried under piles of legal arguments and challenges for decades.

The current USA power mix is not repeated everywhere. We do not have expensive highly polluting coal-oil-NG power plants. Our 735 KV power lines reduce transmission losses to about 4%. The current 45,000 MW Hydro plants can be multiplied by about 4X with new combined Hydro-Wind power generation units on an as required basis, by 2100 or so.

Our all electric homes are a lot more efficient than 15 years ago. With the help of the energy saving programs, we managed to reduce our average energy consumption from 66 KWh/day to 22 KWh/day or by 66.6% while maintaining a cleaner air, more comfortable environment. The 44 KWh/day saved could be used to operate 4 BEVs as soon as they become affordable.

Reel$$

Hey Harve, your Lucifarian imagery is showing - for the whole world to see!!!

HarveyD

Reel$$...You may not know or realize that saving XX-Kwh is a lot cheaper-cleaner-healthier than producing XX-Kwh more. Saving energy by using more efficient vehicles-homes-planes-trucks-trains etc is certainly not 'Lucifarian' nor 'Satanic' but I must admit that it may be considered by many to be anti-American or anti certain acquired behavior.

Every dollar spent for energy saving-efficiency programs can reduce new power generation projects by as much as three dollars. When on-going energy cost (for 25+ years) are factored in, energy saving programs advantage can go from 3:1 to 6:1.

Basically, it is often a question of using less, not of producing more.

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