Green engines’ success relies on its reliability

At a recent Eco-Aviation Conference, CFM International GM-Marketing Bill Brown said that airlines are unlikely to compromise reliability and low maintenance costs for the sake of lower carbon emissions. He said that CFM surveyed 400 operators over for four years as it developed the Leap-X. On-time departures and a hold on maintenance costs were the key operator expectations. Also, CFM operators now are enjoying 99.98% dispatch reliability from an engine that has 31 applications with 480 million flight hours of experience, according to Brown.

Brown claims that the LEAP-X will deliver 15% lower fuel burn; thus, CO2 and a 50% reduction in NOx will be up to 15dB quieter than Stage 4 while offering the same reliability and maintenance cost as the current CFM56. This has been achieved by incorporating much of the GE90 and GEnx technology into the new engine. The 15% lower fuel burn will come from a 45% higher propulsive efficiency through increased bypass ratio and lower weight combined with 45% higher thermal efficiency and integrated engine systems..

“LEAP-X technology will actually enter service in late 2010 on the GEnx engine,” Brown told the conference attendees. The GEnx has the same composite blades, compressor, TAPS and aero technology as the LEAP-X. CFM built the first core for the LEAP-X last year and the second core is underway. CFM is planning to complete three cores by 2012 with a design freeze in 2011. The engine’s blades already have passed critical bird strike, blade-out and crosswind tests. Airbus and Boeing are expected to commit to re-engine/new aircraft decisions for the A320 and B737 upgrade and/or replacement later this year.

Earlier reports have released that Airbus is planning to upgrade their A320s while Boeing will upgrade their 777s even if analysts criticize this decision and suggests Boeing to upgrade their 737s. Boeing comments that 737s will be upgraded after the release of their competitor’s A350XWB.


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