Boeing, General Electric and Honeywell plan to use contract awards from the US Federal Aviation Administration to deepen existing research on technology to improve fuel efficiency and cut emissions.

The FAA awarded those companies and Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce North America $125 million through its continuous lower energy emissions and noise (Cleen) programme aimed at finding methods to reduce fuel burn, aircraft emissions and noise pollution.

The agency says through the programme each company will match or exceed the contributions from the FAA for a potential investment of $250 million.

Boeing says that for its portion of the research, the airframer and the FAA will each contribute $25 million during the next five years to support flight demonstrations of new airframe and engine technologies showing the potential to cut greenhouse gas emissions and noise .

Boeing says technologies developed under the Cleen programme will be tested with a Next Generation 737 in 2012 followed by a second round of testing on a yet-to-be-determined twin-aisle aircraft in 2013.

Boeing plans to put adaptive wing trailing edges and ceramic matrix composite acoustic engine nozzles on trial. The adaptive trailing edges focus on a collection of small controllable devices integrated into the aft portion of the wing, which help tailor the wing configuration to reduce fuel burn at take-off, climb and cruise and to decrease noise at take-off and landing.

GE says it plans to share an investment of up to $66 million with the FAA also through a five-year period. GE plans to focus its research on open rotor development, flight management system air traffic management (FMS-ATM) and the twin annular pre-mixing swirler (TAPS) II combustor used in a new engine core featured in the Leap X engine.

GE through Cleen plans to work with Lockheed Martin, AirDat and Alaska Airlines to test GE's flight management system trajectory algorithms for fuel, emissions and noise performance.

Work scheduled for completion on the open rotor programme supported by Cleen funding is focusing on blade aero-acoustic and pitch change mechanism research.

Honeywell estimates the value of its cost-sharing agreement with the FAA at roughly $27 million for the five-year project. The company is using its TECH7000 turbofan test engine based on the HTF7000 as the basis for its research.

Source: Flight International