P&W runs GTF on synthetic fuel

ENVIRONMENT Pratt & Whitney has run its Geared Turbofan demonstrator engine on a 50:50 blend of synthetic and conventional jet fuel using a joint programme with NASA to compare potential emissions benefits. Supplied by Shell, the synthetic fuel was produced from natural gas using the Fischer-Tropsch process. The fuel test was part of 130h of Phase 1 testing of the GTF, which uses a reduction gearbox to allow a larger, slower-turning fan that reduces fuel consumption and noise.


Europe looks for clean inter-city aircraft

FUEL CELLS Under the European Union's recently launch Clean Sky joint technology initiative, Czech manufacturer Evektor, the UK's Intelligent Energy, Israel Aerospace industries and other partners hope to fly a fuel cell-powered ultralight aircraft in 2010. The project's aim is to fly a technology demonstrator for an environmentally friendly inter-city aircraft powered by fuel cells. Boeing, with European partners, plans to fly a light aircraft this year with hybrid fuel-cell and lithium-ion battery propulsion.


Supercomputers to grapple with alternative fuels

COMPUTATION Next-generation fuels such as hydrogen, biofuels such as ethanol, and cleaner-burning, more -efficient engines are among 30 projects selected for more than 145 million processing hours on supercomputers at the US government's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) this year. Boeing will also use the supercomputers to create the next-generation tools for designing aircraft. ORNL's Cray XT4 Jaguar supercomputer has been uprated to 275 trillion calculations a second - a fourfold increase over a year ago.


SiC sensors can live inside engines

ELECTRONICS Embedded sensors able to operate in temperatures up to 600°C (1,100°F) inside turbine engines and spacecraft could result from an agreement giving Boston, Massachussetts-based Inprox Technology access to silicon carbide (SiC) electronics technology developed by NASA Glenn Research Center to prototype a linear position sensor using high-temperature SiC electronics. Silicon-based electronics are rated to a maximum of 350°C and must be shielded in cooled environments.


Airlines support solar round-the-world flight

EMISSIONS The International Air Transport Association has partnered with Switzerland-based Solar Impulse, which plans to fly a solar-powered aircraft around the world. Solar Impulse is building a prototype, with the first test flights planned for early 2009. A larger aircraft will be built for the round-the-world flight, with is planned for 2011. IATA will provide support including assistance in obtaining air traffic control clearance.


Source: Flight International