FAA awards over $100m to aid sustainable development

Yves Le Marquand

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded more than $100m for companies to aid development of fuel use, emissions and noise reducing technologies. The FAA’s award makes up part of a series of steps the Biden administration is taking to coordinate federal government, aircraft manufacturers, airlines and fuel producers to allow domestic aviation to attain net zero emissions by 2050.

“Across the country, communities have been devastated by the effects of climate change – but, if we act now, we can ensure that aviation plays a central role in the solution,” said transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg. “These awards will help America lead the world in sustainable aviation.”

The Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) Program is a partnership began in 2010 as a key part the FAA’s strategy to tackle climate change and lower the impact of aviation. The programme requires the companies receiving the contracts to match or exceed the FAA’s investment, bringing the total to at least $200m over a five-year period. These latest awards are the third phase of the FAA’s CLEEN programme.

Under CLEEN Phase 3, the FAA and six industry partners will focus on improving fuel efficiency by at least 20% below the relevant International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard; NOx emissions by 70% relative to the most recent ICAO standard; particulate matter emissions below the ICAO standard; and noise by 25 dB cumulative relative to the FAA Stage 5 standard.

FAA, administrator, Steve Dickson, said: “Like our quest for safer skies, making flying sustainable requires us to constantly look for ways to improve.”

Programme participants include:

• GE Aviation will develop an advanced engine propulsion system and advanced acoustic improvements to reduce noise and fuel consumption; electric and hybrid-electric systems to increase fuel efficiency; and advanced combustion and thermal management systems to reduce emissions and fuel consumption. The company also will support the evaluation of alternative jet fuels that could enable further aircraft performance improvements

• Honeywell Aerospace will develop a more efficient engine fan, combustion system, compressor, and turbine to reduce noise, emissions, and fuel consumption

• Pratt & Whitney will develop an ultra-quiet engine fan and an advanced combustion system to reduce noise, emissions, and fuel consumption

• Boeing will develop technologies to reduce noise from the wings, landing gear, and engine inlets. The company also will support the evaluation of alternative jet fuels that could enable further aircraft performance improvements and help to develop new algorithms that enable aircraft to fly quieter, more fuel-efficient routes

• Delta TechOps, GKN Aerospace, MDS Coating, and America’s Phenix will work together to develop erosion-resistant fan blade coatings to reduce fuel consumption over the life of an engine

• Rohr Inc. will develop acoustic technology to reduce the noise from engine exhausts.

The FAA also is pursuing agreements with Rolls-Royce and Safran Nacelles.

The CLEEN technologies developed so far are estimated to reduce CO2 emissions equivalent to removing 3m cars from the road by 2050 and to save the aviation industry 36bn gallons of fuel, said the FAA.

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