Industry and academia to collaborate on new UK aero engine emissions reduction research programme
Fri 31 July 2009 – A research and development programme, backed by investment totalling £40 million ($66m), has been launched in the UK to accelerate the development and introduction of low carbon aircraft engine technology. The programme, to be led by Rolls-Royce, will be delivered by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the non-departmental government body that supports UK business in the development of innovative technology, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It aims to ensure the UK aero engine industry remains competitive as it strives to meet the ACARE 2020 targets on CO2, NOx and noise emission reductions from new aircraft and engines.
The programme, called Strategic Affordable Manufacturing in the UK with Leading Environmental Technology (SAMULET), is to be a collaboration between industry and academia led by Rolls-Royce working in a consortium alongside other high profile manufacturers, SMEs and several top UK universities.
The TSB is investing £28.5 million ($47m) in the programme with £11.5 million ($19m) coming from EPSRC. Further support is being sought from regional bodies to bring the eventual total cost of the project to around £90 million ($149m). The other companies involved as industrial partners include BAE Systems, GKN, Tacit Connexions, Granta and BERU F1, who will use the research facilities at the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centres based at university campuses around the country. Many other UK universities are also expected to participate and collaborate in SAMULET.
The programme will focus on productivity and environmental improvements including reductions in raw material usage, efficient advanced manufacturing processes and lower engine fuel consumption. It will aim to develop new technologies and deliver a number of knowledge transfer initiatives, and will be closely linked with advanced manufacturing research centres in Sheffield, Glasgow and Ansty, near Coventry.
The ACARE (Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe) targets require reductions in new commercial aircraft entering service from 2020 (relative to best practice in 2000) of CO2 emissions per passenger-km by 50%, NOx emissions by 80% and noise by 50%.
SAMULET builds on an earlier Environmentally Friendly Engine (EFE) programme, which the TSB, EPSRC and regions already support, and links closely to the EU Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative that is focused on building and testing engine demonstrators validating cleaner and quieter technologies. It is also one of several major research programmes which collectively aim to achieve a two-fold increase in engine deliveries over the next eight years within the current manufacturing footprint. The goal is to achieve reductions in cycle times and material waste and improvements in productivity.
Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, Iain Gray said: “SAMULET aims to ensure that the UK aero-engine industry remains competitive in the face of new 2020 emissions targets for aircraft and that it is in a position to manufacture engines for the next generation of civil aircraft. We supported this intervention because we felt that it was essential that new technology advances rapidly enough in the industry to ensure that the UK retains a competitive advantage in this field.”
Dave Delpy, Chief Executive of EPSRC, said: “The application of science and engineering research is vital to help overcome the threat of climate change and sustainable living. This important partnership brings together key stakeholders and provides a strategic focus in the search for new technologies to provide an effective response to emissions targets and maximize energy efficiency.”