MTU to use geared- and contra-rotating fan to cut emissions

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MTU is initiating a technological programme, centred on geared turbofan development, which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from powerplants by up to 30% within 30 years.

The Munich-based engine manufacturer has entered a partnership with its associate research group Bauhaus Luftfahrt to engage in the three-phase Clean Air Engine project.

This programme, known by the acronym "Claire", will be centred on the geared turbofan, which is designed to allow the different parts of the engine to rotate at their individual optimum speeds.

Pratt & Whitney, which co-operates with MTU on powerplant manufacture, has been assembling a geared-fan demonstrator that will enter a test regime later this year.

The Claire programme will also take advantage of MTU's previously developed contra-rotating fan that would be fitted to the geared assembly. Eventually this mechanism would also include a recuperator to improve efficiency further.

MTU intends the "ambitious" programme to cut CO2 emissions by 15% during the first stage, and achieve a 20% reduction by 2025. The third phase will strive for a 30% cut by 2035.

Chief operating officer Rainer Martens says that the main components for the programme are already available and have been tested to confirm efficiency expectations. Optimising the geared fan, he claims, will also halve the perceived noise level.