At the Farnborough Air Show in the UK, GE Aviation said it continues its studies into advanced technologies for the next-generation engine to power Boeing next-generation 777 aircraft. The GE9X engine is focused on improvements in fuel burn, noise and emission over the current GE90-115B engine while maintaining comparable reliability and maintenance cost, said Bill Millhaem, general manager of the GE90 program at GE Aviation.
The GE9X engine will offer 10% percent fuel improvement over today’s GE90 engines. Key features of the 100,000 lb. thrust GE9X will include:
- Fan diameter similar in size to the GE90-115B engine (128 inches);
- 4th generation composite fan blades and composite fan case;
- High pressure compressor driven by new aerodynamics technology and 4th generation powder metal material with a 27:1 pressure ratio;
- TAPS III combustor;
- High pressure turbine with ceramic matrix composite (CMCs) material; and
- Enhanced titanium aluminide (TiAl) LPT airfoils.
GE Aviation has already been conducting tests on new material for the engine during the last few years. A high pressure compressor rig is scheduled to run early next year, with the first full core test set for 2015.
The GE9X will follow the GE90-115B engine that entered service in 2004. At 115,000 pounds of thrust, the GE90-115B engine includes such performance-enhancing features as three-dimensional aerodynamic (3-D aero) compressor and wide-chord, swept composite fan blades for greater efficiency. The dual annular combustor emits no more than 40% of the hydrocarbons allowed by today's international standards. In addition, today’s GE90-115 engines have been enhanced to reduce fuel burn by 3.6% from the 2000 launch specification.
More than 1,500 GE90-115B engines have been ordered by customers for their Boeing 777-300ERs, 777-200LRs and 777 Freighters. In 2011, the GE90 engine experienced its most successful year and accumulated airline and freighter operator commitments for 400 engines, surpassing the 250 engine commitments record from 2007.
Snecma of France, Avio SpA of Italy and IHI Corporation of Japan are revenue-sharing participants in the GE90 program.