Legal deadlock halts Europe's $68 milllion Clean Sky projects

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The selection of partners for €50 million ($68.4 million) of research contracts for the European Union's Joint Technology Initiative Clean Sky has been halted due to lack of agreement over procedures.

Research partner selection for Clean Sky's integrated technology demonstrators was to occur through a call for project proposals starting in this quarter, with industrial activity beginning later this year. But the selection phase is now not expected for months due to the legal wrangling.

Clean Sky has six technology demonstrators and they include sustainable and green engine, smart fixed-wing design and eco-design. Calls for proposals from potential technology demonstrator partners covering 93 technical areas for projects that would be worth €50 million in total were to be made before July.

"It was the definition of procedures. It is a legal hold-up. We have to agree with the European Commission these procedures," says Snecma research and technology deputy vice-president Isabelle Dubois. The indefinite delay was reported on the Clean Sky website but Dubois thought some calls might be made "in April or later".

Reflecting the needs of the technology demonstrators, the calls include engine mount design activities and fuel pump and smart sensor development.

The calls were planned to start in this quarter after the signing of an agreement between the EC and industry in November last year about how to evaluate the impact of future technologies on the environment.

This agreement was supposed to finalise the EC, industry contractual arrangements that had been negotiated since the February 2008 launch of the JTI.