- GKN Aerospace selected in two of Clean Aviation's 20 bold projects – OFELIA and SWITCH – developing innovative solutions for the next generation of ultra-efficient medium-range aircraft with 30% lower fuel consumption.
- The engines will be able to run on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and also be easy to convert to run on hydrogen.
The EU's new, large demonstrator programme Clean Aviation conducts research and innovation to ensure climate neutrality of aviation by 2050. In the first call within the programme, GKN Aerospace’s Engines business was named within two projects – OFELIA (Open Fan for Environmental Low Impact of Aviation) and SWITCH (Sustainable Water-Injecting Turbofan Comprising Hybrid-Electrics). In both projects, new engine technology for the next generation of ultra-efficient medium-range aircraft is developed and demonstrated.
Less carbon emissions with Open Fan engines
The OFELIA project is led by the French engine manufacturer Safran Aircraft Engines, who will work with 26 key European partners, including GE Aerospace, Airbus, Avio Aero and GKN Aerospace, as well as research labs and academics from several countries in Europe. The project will develop and test a so-called Open Fan engine, derived from the futuristic Open Rotor concept. In the project, GKN Aerospace is responsible for a number of important engine structures, both in the compressor and the turbine.
Henrik Runnemalm, Vice President for GKN Aerospace Global Technology Centre in Sweden says: "The fact that we are involved in this type of demonstrator project is important for the validation of GKN Aerospace's new 3D printing technologies. Since the development of aircraft and aircraft engines is extremely complex, it is necessary that companies are always at the absolute forefront of technological development.”
Hybrid-electric and water-enhanced turbofan technology
The SWITCH project is led by German MTU Aero Engines, with Pratt & Whitney, Collins and Airbus as partners. The project develops completely new hybrid-electric and water-enhanced turbofan technology for future aircraft propulsion systems – technologies that will make it possible to reduce CO2, NOx and contrail forming emissions at the same time. "The project aims to demonstrate the potential of these technologies to improve fuel efficiency and reduce aircraft CO2 emissions by up to 25 percent compared to today's propulsion systems for short- and medium-range aircraft," explains Henrik Runnemalm. "For GKN Aerospace, this is an important project as we are taking a step towards increased functionality, both thermal and electrical, for the engine structures we are responsible for." In the SWITCH project, GKN Aerospace will develop different engine structures with completely new functionality, such as integrated electrical machines and heat exchangers.
"We will benefit from our unique test rig in Trollhättan, as well as our high-voltage electric wiring developed by GKN Fokker in the Netherlands," concludes Henrik Runnemalm.