FAA awards $100 million in next CLEEN phase to aid development of green aircraft and biofuel technologies
Boeing tested CLEEN technologies as part of its ecoDemonstrator programme
Thu 10 Sep 2015 – The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has marked the launch of the second phase of its Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN II) programme by awarding $100 million to eight companies to develop and demonstrate technologies that reduce fuel consumption, emissions and noise. The companies are expected to match or exceed the FAA’s investment and so bring the total CLEEN II funding to in excess of $200 million. One of the goals of the second phase is to achieve a 40% reduction in fuel burn relative to the most efficient aircraft in service during the year 2000 and the FAA anticipates that technologies developed under the programme will be on a path for introduction into commercial aircraft by 2026.
“CLEEN II represents a genuine investment and commitment by the FAA and the industry to find ways to make aviation even cleaner, quieter and more energy efficient,” commented FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “We expect that when they enter service, these new technologies will benefit US aircraft for years to come and build on the Obama Administration’s efforts to protect the environment.”
The eight companies selected by the FAA are Aurora Flight Sciences; Boeing; GE Aviation; Delta TechOps/MDS Coating Technologies/America’s Phenix; Honeywell Aerospace; Pratt & Whitney; Rolls-Royce; and Rohr/UTC Aerospace Systems. Under CLEEN II, technologies will be developed and matured, which will include full-scale ground and flight test demonstrations, with the aim of bringing them to market.
As well as the 40% fuel burn reduction target, other goals of CLEEN II include cutting NOx emissions during take-off and landing by 70% over the 2011 ICAO standard without increasing other emissions; lowering noise levels by 32 decibels relative to the FAA Stage 4 noise standard; and expediting the commercialisation of drop-in sustainable jet fuels through support for the ASTM approval process.
“By partnering with private industry on advancing the next generation of aviation technologies, the Department is helping shape a world-class transit system that is efficient and environmentally sustainable,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who described the programme as finding innovative ways to strengthen the economy while reducing carbon emissions.
The five-year CLEEN II aims to build on the first phase (CLEEN) of the public-private partnership programme that started in 2010 and which focused on nine projects in the areas of energy efficient aircraft technologies and sustainable jet fuels. The first of these technologies is expected to enter service in 2016, says the FAA.
Participants in the first phase included Boeing, GE, Honeywell, P&W and Rolls-Royce, which together matched or exceeded FAA funding of $125 million. Boeing tested two aircraft technologies that could reduce aircraft fuel burn by up to 2%, which if used fleet-wide in the US would save an estimated 340 million gallons of fuel a year worth some $1.2 billion at 2009 prices. GE developed technologies to reduce fuel burn, emissions and noise, including testing of a scaled Open Rotor engine.
Under CLEEN, Honeywell developed and tested technologies to increase engine efficiency and reduce engine weight, as well as cold testing of an alternative jet fuel blend to support ASTM approval of HEFA jet biofuels. Pratt & Whitney used the CLEEN funding to help develop and demonstrate its ultra-high bypass ration geared turbofan engine and associated technologies, whereas Rolls-Royce carried out similar development of technologies aimed at increasing thermal efficiency and weight savings in the turbine section of its engines. The funding also helped Rolls-Royce with laboratory and engine component testing of new alternative jet fuels under development that could be approved by ASTM for commercial use.