Turbo Power

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UTC and Pratt & Whitney’s turbofan engine is set to revolutionize sustainable air travel.
Belinda Sharr
With air travel continually becoming more widespread, the sustainability of flight is on the minds of both the CR community and technology leaders. That’s where United Technologies Corporation (UTC) and Pratt & Whitney step in. They have created a jet engine that addresses sustainability needs for flights of the future.
Pratt & Whitney, a UTC company, recently shipped its new Pure Power PW1000G engine with Geared Turbofan technology to the Sustainable Brands conference in June in San Diego. It attracted a lot of attention from attendees, as the large piece of machinery stood well over six feet tall near the entrance to the venue.So how does it work? The engine features a state-of-the- art gear system that separates the engine fan from the low pressure compressor and turbine, allowing each of the modules to operate at their optimum speeds. “This enables the fan to rotate slower while the low pressure compressor and turbine operate at a high speed, increasing engine efficiency and delivering significantly lower fuel consumption, emissions, and noise. This increased efficiency also translates to fewer engine stages and parts for lower weight and reduced maintenance costs,” Pratt & Whitney said in a statement on its website.

CR Magazine spoke with John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer at UTC, about the engine—and with 7,000 already on order, how it has the potential to “change everything.”

CR Magazine: What does the new PW1000G Engine mean for the future of sustainable air travel?

John Mandyck: The future of sustainable aviation will take flight with the Geared Turbofan™ (GTF) engine. It’s cleaner, greener, and quieter than anything available on the market today. It provides a revolutionary change that will impact sustainable air travel for generations to come. The engine reduces fuel burn by 16 percent, particulate emissions by 50 percent, and noise by 75 percent—and it’s really only one example of UTC’s investment in a sustainable future.

CR: Do you think the further sustainability of aircraft will lead to an increase in passengers?

JM: We already know that middle-class consumers embrace commercial travel, and that this segment of the population will dramatically increase by 2050. The aviation industry is already working to meet the demands Of the flying public, and the number of commercial aircraft is projected to rise from about 26,000 today to approximately 46,000 by 2030. Equipping these aircraft with our PurePower® engine with Geared Turbofan™ technology is a positive step forward for airline travelers and operators, as well as the environment.

CR: How is the Geared Turbofan™ engine different from previous types of engines?

JM: At UTC, we embrace new ideas and innovative thinking. The GTF engine came about from a simple idea to add a gear that allows the engine fan to operate separately from the compressor and turbine. This enables the fan to rotate more slowly than other components, resulting in greater fuel efficiency and less noise. We spent 20 years and $11 billion to bring the breakthrough technology to market, so we are excited to introduce this new engine to the world.

CR: What are UTC’s future goals for this type of sustainability?

JM: The GTF engine is a large part of our commitment to sustainable transport. UTC is also committed to sustainability in many areas within our own operations: from eliminating greenhouse gases to reducing chemical emissions and industrial waste to reducing water consumption, and more. Over the last 20 years, we tripled revenue at UTC while we reducing our water usage by 57 percent and our greenhouse gases/energy by 34 percent—all on an absolute basis. We know sustainability works. That’s why we’re so optimistic that the world can urbanize sustainably.

CR: What has been the feedback of the engine—from the pilots and airline staff and also from passengers?

JM: The feedback is remarkable, with 7,000 of our GTF jet engines on order. The GTF engine is the fulfillment of a dream at UTC to push the boundaries of science, technology, and ingenuity. The result is the world’s most sustainable large commercial jet engine, which is now powering commercial flights on two continents. The noise reduction alone vastly improves the travel experience for airline passengers and those living around airports, while minimizing environmental impact.

CR: Why was it important to bring the engine to Sustainable Brands and show it to the attendees?

JM: We wanted to provide everyone with the opportunity to learn more about UTC’s jet engine improvements in fuel efficiency, particulate emissions and noise footprint. It is important to show people the possibilities of sustainability and to demonstrate that we can reduce our carbon footprint while still meeting the demands of a growing global society.


By the Numbers

UTC’s and Pratt & Whitney’s Pure Power PW1000G engine has the potential to change the aviation game.

The sustainable engine reduces:

• Fuel burn by 16 percent;

• Particulate emissions by 50 percent; and

• Noise by 75 percent.

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Posted August 24, 2016 in Technology