DALAS – Always looking to the future, Boeing maintains an “open mind” regarding future propulsion technologies. The comment made this week by the manufacturer is about the RISE engine project announced last year by CFM International, a collaboration between General Electric and Safran.
“Any tool that helps us improve our environmental performance is something worth looking at,” Mike Sinette, Boeing’s vice president of product development, told reporters. “The open rotor today is something very different from 20 years ago. There are things about this engine that are very interesting. And I wouldn’t say we’ll never put an open rotor on an airplane.
The RISE engine can reduce fuel combustion by up to 20% and may be operational by the 2030s, possibly as part of Boeing’s next clean sheet design.
Reuters announces that the engine will feature a hybrid-electric drive and will be able to run on 100% sustainable fuel or hydrogen, an energy source preferred by Airbus for future concepts.
The project started in June 2021
In June 2021, GE and Safran launched a technology development program that aimed to create a propulsion system that produces 20% lower emissions – the CFM RISE program (Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engines). The signed documents show that the two companies agree to work together until 2050 to “lead the way for more sustainable aviation in line with the industry’s commitment to halve CO.2 emissions ”by the same year.
“Together, through the RISE technology demonstration program, we are rediscovering the future of flight by launching an advanced set of revolutionary technologies that will take the next generation of aircraft one-way to a new level of fuel efficiency and reduced emissions,” said John Slater. President and CEO of GE Aviation. “We fully accept the imperative for sustainability. As we have always done in the past, we will work for the future. ”
According to the GE website, “Central to the program is state-of-the-art propulsion efficiency for the engine, including the development of an open fan architecture.” This is a key factor in achieving significantly improved fuel efficiency, while providing the same cabin speed and experience as current single-lane aircraft. The program will also use hybrid electrical capabilities to optimize engine efficiency while allowing electrification of many aircraft systems.
The engineering team develops composite fan blades, heat-resistant metal alloys, ceramic matrix composites (CMC), hybrid electrical capabilities and additive manufacturing processes. GE says the RISE program includes more than 300 individual components, modules and full engine versions. The demonstration engine is scheduled to begin testing at GE and Safran facilities around the middle of this decade and summer testing shortly thereafter.
There will be no new Boeing soon
However, Boeing is unlikely to start developing a new aircraft soon due to current certification and production problems and high debt levels.
According to Reuters, earlier this month Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said it would be “at least a few years” before digital production tools became mature enough to support a new aircraft program that would help Boeing overcome the difference in sales compared to Airbus.
“When that happens, we’re designing the next plane,” Calhoun said. “Why hurry?”
CFM started in 1974 as a joint venture between GE and Safran. This partnership was renewed in 2008 to launch the LEAP program to develop the engine used on the 737 MAX and some Airbus A320neo aircraft.
Today, CFM is the world’s leading supplier of commercial aircraft engines, with more than 35,000 delivered to more than 600 operators, accumulating more than one billion flight hours.
Featured Image: CMF