GE Aviation and Safran have relaunched an engine development program that will further develop Safran’s open rotor design developed last decade as part of the company’s CFM International joint venture.
The two companies also signed off an agreement that enables CFM International to exist until 2050.
CFM’s RISE (Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engines) program will develop and test technologies for future engines that could enter service by the mid-2030s.
A core part of the RISE program will be the further development of an open rotor engine, a development program started by Safran in 2008. The engine program, which received €65 million (US$77 million) of funding through the EU’s Clean Sky program, was developed as far as ground testing of a demonstrator (video) in 2017 at Istres, southern France.
GE Aviation said the open rotor engine, which will be developed by a joint GE / Safran engineering team is a key enabler to achieving improved fuel efficiency while delivering the same speed and cabin experience as current single-aisle aircraft.
The RISE program will also use a hybrid electric power train to optimize engine efficiency while enabling electrification of many aircraft systems.
The project will develop composite fan blades, heat resistant metal alloys, ceramic matrix composites (CMCs), hybrid electric capability and additive manufacturing. It also includes more than 300 separate component, module and full engine builds.
A demonstrator engine is scheduled to begin testing at GE and Safran facilities around the middle of this decade and flight test soon thereafter, said the companies.
Technologies matured as part of the RISE Program will also serve as the basis for a next-generation CFM engine that is planned for the mid-2030s. The program’s goals include reducing fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by more than 20% compared to today’s most efficient engines, as well as ensuring fulll compatibility with alternative energy sources such as Sustainable Aviation Fuels and hydrogen.
John Slattery, president and CEO of GE Aviation said, “The relationship between GE and Safran today is the strongest it has ever been.
“Together, through the RISE technology demonstration program, we are reinventing the future of flight, bringing an advanced suite of revolutionary technologies to market that will take the next generation of single-aisle aircraft to a new level of fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.”
“Our industry is in the midst of the most challenging times we have ever faced,” said Olivier Andriès, CEO of Safran. “We have to act now to accelerate our efforts to reduce our impact on the environment.”
CFM was originally created in 1974. The joint venture was renewed in 2008 for the launch of the LEAP engine program.