Zunum and Safran Join Forces to Deliver Hybrid-to-Electric Aircraft Dramatically reduced operating costs expected

sustainable aviation

Seattle, October 04, 2018:  Zunum Aero, a pioneer in electric aviation, selected Safran Helicopter Engines (Bordes, France) for its hybrid-to-electric commercial aircraft, which will be available in the early 2020s. Safran Helicopter Engines will provide a new generation engine turbine to drive the Zunum ZA10’s electrical generator. This turbo-generator will power this 12-seat, hybrid-to-electric 700-mile commercial aircraft, driving extraordinarily low operating costs and offering unprecedented door-to-door travel times that are 2 to 4 times faster than today. Zunum expects to light up thirty thousand airports around the world with frequent and affordable air service.

In October 2017, Zunum revealed first details on its all new hybrid-to-electric aircraft family. These aircraft are designed to address a vast gap in transport infrastructure over regional ranges up to 1,000 miles, offering quiet, green and fast door-to-door service to tens of thousands of secondary airports around the world.

The Zunum aircraft under development, internally dubbed the ZA10, is the first in the company’s family of regional, hybrid-to-electric aircraft. It will be powered by dual power sources: propulsion batteries, and a Safran turboshaft engine from the 1,700 to 2,000 shaft horsepower (shp) Ardiden range. Safran is the world’s leading manufacturer of helicopter engines, with more than 72,000 produced since being founded. The manufacturer offers the widest range of helicopter turboshaft engines  in the world and has more than 2,500 customers in 155 countries.

This new model, the Ardiden 3Z, will be used as a hybrid power source achieving demanding cost, efficiency and uptime requirements. It will be coupled with an electric generator, and the integrated turbo-generator will deliver 500kW of electric power to supplement the battery packs on key stages of flight and over long ranges. Upgrades such as advanced materials and integrated lifecycle management for hybrid service will dramatically reduce operating costs of the engine by extending the life of critical components.

The new aircraft will deliver breakthrough operating costs of 8 cents per available seat mile or $250 per hour for the aircraft, which is 60-80 percent lower than comparable conventional aircraft of comparable size. The ZA10 aircraft is designed to cruise and land on turbo-generator power alone, offering full redundancy.

Zunum’s selection of Safran is a critical step towards realizing the delivery of an economical, efficient hybrid-to-electric aircraft by the early 2020s. Because a key element of the MW-class hybrid-to-electric powertrain is a 500kW capable gas turbine that is compact, lightweight and highly efficient, to complement the propulsion batteries onboard, Safran’s proven expertise made the partnership a natural decision.

sustainable aviation

Revival of regional aviation

“Today marks a significant milestone on the path to delivery of the ZA10,” said Matt Knapp, co-founder and CTO of Zunum Aero. “The Zunum ZA10 aircraft will bring breakthrough performance to regional aviation, paving the way to fast, electrified, affordable high-speed air services to communities everywhere.”

Florent Chauvancy, Safran Helicopter Engines EVP OEM Sales, added: “The Ardiden 3Z represents a very powerful complement to the ZA10 because of its exceptional performance, along with low operating and maintenance costs. This announcement marks a new step forward in demonstrating Safran ability to offer hybrid propulsive solutions for tomorrow’s mobility solutions.”

Near-term milestones include ground and flight testing scheduled for 2019, as well delivery of the ZA10 aircraft targeted for the early 2020s.

 

Rockwell Turbo Commander 840 to be used as testbed

Zunum selected a Rockwell Turbo Commander 840 to modify for the flying testbed aircraft. The Rockwell Turbo Commander 840 has similar weight and performance to the ZA10, as well as excellent single-engine capability, enabling Zunum to modify and test in phases for a high-degree of safety.

In preparation for flight in 2019, Zunum Aero conducted ground tests of the hybrid-electric power system at Chicago-area facilities earlier this year. Through Q4 2018 and early 2019, the power system will continue to be upgraded and tested in stages to advance it for flight. Meanwhile, the Ardiden 3Z engine will undergo ground tests in France and US, ahead of integration with the flying testbed in 2019.

Modifications of the test aircraft began on schedule for a series of flights in the back half of 2019 leading to full hybrid-to-electric conversion with the Safran engine. The flying testbed will continue to be upgraded with successive prototypes until start of certification in 2020-21.

Founded in 2013, Zunum Aero is funded by Boeing HorizonX, JetBlue Technology Ventures and the State of Washington Clean Energy Fund. For more information visit http://www.zunum.aero or http://www.safran-helicopter-engines.com .

Source: Zunum Aero

CFM56

CFM56 Fleet Surpasses 500 Million Flight Cycles

Nearly 1,900 engines still to be delivered

West Chester, Ohio, October 31, 2017:  CFM International’s ubiquitous CFM56 engine fleet has surpassed 500 million flight cycles while logging nearly 900 million flight hours since the first aircraft, a DC-8-71, entered commercial service in April 1982. CFM56 engines are a product of CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines and the world’s leading supplier of commercial aircraft engines. 
There are currently more than 24,000 CFM56 engines in commercial and military service with 560 operators around the globe. Overall, CFM has delivered more than 31,000 engines to date and the current production engines continue to lead the industry with world-class reliability and low cost of ownership.  The CFM56-5B has logged more than 100 million flight cycles and 180 million flight hours powering the Airbus A320ceo family since 1996, while the CFM56-7B engine surpassed 170 million cycles and 300 million hours since 1998.
“This is a remarkable achievement,” said. Gaël Méheust, president and CEO of CFM International.  “Although our founding fathers were confident the program would be a success, I don’t think even they could have dreamed of what we would eventually accomplish with this product.”
CFM56 engines power the Airbus A318/A319/A320/A321, the A318 Elite and A319CJ, A320CJ, and A321CJ corporate jets and A340-200/-300 models and the Boeing Classic 737-300/-400/-500, Next-Generation 737-600/-700/-800/-900/-900ER and BBJ and DC-8 Super 70 airplanes, as well as military applications such as the U.S. Air Force KC-135R tanker aircraft.

CFM56 Fan
Photo: CFMI

Source: GE Aviation

eTaxi: Reducing Carbon and NOx Emissions

International Association for Sustainable Aviation e.V.

Airbus and Safran offer electric taxiing system for A320 family

 

Paris, June 21, 2017: Following the completion of an extensive R&T phase, an electric taxiing solution, called “eTaxi”, has received ‘Authorization To Market’ approval by Airbus and Safran, for application on the A320 Family. Depending on the airline feedback, the actual program could subsequently be launched in the near future. eTaxi’s electric motors in the main landing gear, powered by electricity from the APU (auxiliary power unit), would allow an aircraft fitted with it to taxi without using its jet engines or requiring airport tractors or tugs.

eTaxi would provide airlines with a sustainable solution which combines savings on operating costs (including a reduction of around four percent in fuel costs, equal to several hundred thousand dollars per aircraft annually), independent movement on the ground (saving around two minutes of time on pushback), as well as ecological advantages such reduced carbon (CO2)and NOx emissions, and less noise during taxiing.

Source: Airbus

GE Aviation GE9X: CMC – a Clear Cool Winner

IASA: Nachhaltige Luftfahrt - Sustainable Aviation

Second phase of fuel-efficient Ceramic Matrix Composite component testing is complete

Evendale, OH, January 19, 2017: The second phase of GE9X CMC (Ceramic Matrix Composite) component testing in a GEnx demonstrator engine is complete, with the CMCs continuing to be the clear cool winner. The demonstrator engine accumulated 1,800 cycles in the latest round of tests, which included exposure to harsh environmental conditions of dust and debris. The level of debris exposure was equivalent to about 3,000 take-off and landing operation cycles. The GE9X engine will power Boeing’s 777X aircraft.

According to Ted Ingling, GE9X general manager at GE Aviation, “Dust and debris accumulate on the external surface of the airfoils and can degrade the insulation coatings. They can also collect on internal cooling circuits of the blades and nozzles and degrade the cooling effectiveness. Both factors can lead to durability issues. These demonstrator tests allow us to get an accelerated understanding of how our new designs and materials perform in all environments, including those prone to high airborne debris.”

For the second round of tests, the GEnx demonstrator engine utilized the same CMC combustor liners, HPT stage 1 shrouds and HPT stage 2 nozzles from the first round of tests in September 2015 along with the addition of the HPT stage 1 CMC nozzles.

“The majority of the CMC components experienced a total of nearly 4,600 cycles in the two testing phases in the GEnx demonstrator engine,” said Ingling. “All of the CMC components performed extremely well and continue to prove their value.”

The use of lightweight, heat-resistant CMCs in the hot section of jet engines is a significant breakthrough in the aviation industry. CMCs consist of silicon carbide ceramic fibers and ceramic matrix and are enhanced with proprietary coatings. With one-third the density of metal alloys, these ultra-lightweight CMCs reduce an engine’s weight, which improves fuel efficiency and durability.

CMCs are also more heat resistant than metal alloys, allowing the diversion of less cooling air into an engine’s hot section. By using this cooling air in the engine flow path, an engine runs more efficiently at higher temperature.

The GEnx CMC demonstrator engine also incorporated non-CMC GE9X parts, including the new 3D additive manufactured lightweight low-pressure turbine titanium aluminide (TiAl) blades produced at Avio Aero and the next-generation HPT stage 1 blades with advance cooling technology. The next-generation HPT blades utilize a proprietary process invented at GRC and industrialized at GE Aviation’s Cores & Castings facility in Dayton, OH. This novel process employs the most efficient cooling circuits ever produced, which result in significant fuel efficiency improvement over historical designs.

Certification testing on the GE9X program will begin in the first half of this year along with flight testing on GE Aviation’s flying test bed. Engine certification is expected in 2018.

With almost 700 GE9X engines on order, the GE9X engine will be in the 100,000 pound thrust class and will have the largest front fan at 134 inches in diameter with a composite fan case and 16 fourth generation carbon fiber composite fan blades. Other key features include; a next-generation 27:1 pressure-ratio 11-stage high-pressure compressor; a third-generation TAPS III combustor for high efficiency and low emissions; and CMC material in the combustor and turbine.

IHI Corporation, Safran Aircraft Engines, Safran Aero Boosters and MTU Aero Engines AG are participants in the GE9X engine program.

Source: GE Aviation

CMCs – An Advanced Materials Revolution in Jet Propulsion

IASA: Nachhaltige Luftfahrt - Sustainable Aviation

GE Aviation investing more than $200 million to construct two new factories in Huntsville

Huntsville, AL, June 16, 2016: In a ceremony with Alabama public officials, GE Aviation broke ground on two adjacent factories to mass-produce silicon carbide (SiC) materials used to manufacture ceramic matrix composite components (CMCs) for jet engines and land-based gas turbines for electric power.

The use of lightweight, heat-resistant CMCs in the hot section of GE jet engines is a breakthrough for the jet propulsion industry. CMCs comprise SiC ceramic fibers in a SiC matrix, enhanced by proprietary coatings.

With one-third the density of metal alloys, these ultra-lightweight CMCs reduce the overall engine weight. Further, their high-temperature properties greatly enhance engine performance, durability and fuel economy. CMCs are far more heat resistant than metal alloys, hence requiring less cooling air in the engine’s hot section. By using this air instead in the engine flow path, an engine runs more efficiently.

For more than 20 years, scientists at GE’s Global Research Centers and GE’s industrial businesses have worked to develop CMCs for commercial applications. The best-selling LEAP engine, being developed by CFM International, the 50/50 joint company of GE and Safran Aircraft Engines of France, is the first commercial jet engine to use CMCs in the high-pressure turbine section. The LEAP engine, with more than 10,500 orders and commitments, is currently completing certification testing. It is scheduled to enter airline service next year powering the Airbus A320neo and in 2017 powering the Boeing 737 MAX.

When the factories are fully operational later this decade, they are expected to employ up to 300 people. The plants are expected to be completed by the first half of 2018. Production begins in 2018. “GE Aviation is creating a fully integrated supply chain for producing CMC components in large volume, which is unique to the United States,” said Sanjay Correa, vice president who leads the industrialization of advanced technologies at GE Aviation. “The new factories in Alabama are vital to this strategy. We are deeply gratified by the tremendous local, state, and national support for this effort.”

One plant of the Huntsville plants will produce silicon carbide (SiC) ceramic fiber. It will be the first such operation in the United States. Today, the only large-scale SiC ceramic fiber factory in the world is operated by NGS Advanced Fibers in Japan, which is a joint company of Nippon Carbon, GE, and Safran of France.

The second factory will use this SiC ceramic fiber to produce the unidirectional CMC tape necessary to fabricate CMC components.

Source: GE Aviation

Fewer NOX Emissions

IASA: Nachhaltige Luftfahrt - Sustainable Aviation

GE Aviation rolls out its 1,000th GEnx engine

Evendale, OH, October 21: GE Aviation assembled the 1,000th GEnx engine, just a mere five years after the first production engine was built at GE’s Durham, North Carolina. “The GEnx was the fastest selling engine in GE’s history, and now it is the fastest production ramp up of a GE widebody engine program,” said Tom Levin, general manager of the GEnx/CF6 engine product lines at GE Aviation. “GEnx engines are powering the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and 747-8 aircraft for more than 40 customers, and more orders are anticipated for many years to come. The GEnx engine has proven itself with outstanding performance and reliability.”

Based on proven GE90 architecture, the GEnx engine will offer up to 15% improved fuel efficiency and 15% less CO2 compared to GE’s CF6 engine. The GEnx engine represents a giant leap forward in propulsion technology, using the latest materials and design processes to reduce weight, improve performance and deliver a more fuel-efficient commercial aircraft engine.

After introducing composite fan blades on the GE90 engine in 1995, GE Aviation is taking the technology to a new level with the GEnx. The carbon-fiber composite fan blades on the GE9X engine feature a new, more efficient design, a reduced blade count (from 22 to 18 fan blades) and a composite fan case for further weight reduction.

The first GEnx engine entered service on a Boeing 747-8 aircraft in 2011, and the engine program has accumulated five million flight hours and 900,000 cycles.

Of the engines that currently power the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the GEnx-1B engine has set itself apart in the following areas:

  • Leading engine of choice for Boeing 787 with more than a 60 percent win rate.
  • Best fuel burn: The GEnx-1B engine has a 2.3 percent fuel burn advantage for typical Boeing 787 stage lengths, and this advantage increases further for longer range missions.
  • Highest reliability with a 99.96 percent dispatch reliability rate and a 25 percent lower engine removal rate than the competition.
  • Fewer NOx emissions: NOx emissions are as much as 55 percent below today’s regulatory limit and other regulated gases are as much as 90 percent below today’s limit.

GE is also looking at possible technology enhancements to ensure the GEnx engine remains a leader in its class. This year, testing took place on a GEnx demonstrator engine that contained lightweight, heat-resistant ceramic matrix composite (CMC) components along with next-generation high pressure turbine blades with advance cooling technology. The demonstrator engine is part of the technology maturation program for the GE9x engine and successfully completed 2,800 cycles.

“As we look to the future, we are committed to making sure the GEnx retains its leadership position and continues its exceptional performance,” said Levin.

The GEnx engine family is the fastest-selling engine in GE Aviation history with about 1,600 engines on order. GEnx revenue-sharing participants are IHI Corporation of Japan, GKN Aerospace Engine Systems of the United Kingdom, MTU of Germany, TechSpace Aero of Belgium, Snecma (SAFRAN Group) of France and Hanwha Techwin Inc. of Korea.

The GEnx engine is part of GE’s “ecomagination” product portfolio—GE’s commitment to implementing innovative, cost-effective technologies that enhance the customers’ environmental and operating performance.

About GE Aviation: GE Aviation is an operating unit of GE, and a world-leading provider of jet engines, components, avionics, digital and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings. GE’s fuel management and RNP services are ecomagination qualified products.

Source: GE Aviation