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Geared turbofan – Pratt & Whitney and MTU are building the engine of the future

Munich, June 17, 2012 – Aircraft engines of the future will have to be quieter, more fuel-efficient and cleaner than the engines in service today. Pratt & Whitney and MTU Aero Engines are collaborating on the PurePower® PW1000G geared turbofan (GTF) engine to develop a game-changing propulsion concept and are planning to build a complete family of engines based on this concept. The new technology holds the promise of reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 15 percent each, and of cutting present perceived noise levels in half compared with today’s engines.

The concept is catching on with airframers: Airbus is offering the geared turbofan engine for its re-engined A320neo. This could be the application for which the largest quantity of geared turbofans will be required; for the European aircraft manufacturer estimates that the market will need some 4,000 of this type of aircraft. Bombardier has selected it as the exclusive engine to power its new CSeries; Mitsubishi will equip its MRJ with this new type of propulsion system; Irkut has chosen it for its MS-21, and Embraer has picked the GTF engine for the upgraded versions of its E-170 and E-190 family of aircraft. Once the design has been further optimized, the geared turbofan engine is expected to deliver savings of a total of 30 percent. MTU Aero Engines has adopted this target in its Claire (Clean Air Engine) technology program.

What sets the new GTF propulsion system apart is that it features a reduction gearbox between the fan and low-pressure turbine. With today's engines, the two are seated on a common shaft, and the turbine drives the fan. The gearbox allows the fan with its large diameter to rotate more slowly and the turbine to rotate much faster. This lets the individual components achieve their respective optimum speed, greatly boosting the geared turbofan's efficiency. The result is a significant reduction in fuel consumption, emissions of carbon dioxide and noise; moreover, the propulsion system is much lighter than a conventional engine as it has fewer stages, and hence a lower parts count.

MTU contributes the high-speed low-pressure turbine to the GTF, one of its key components. Germany's leading engine manufacturer is the sole manufacturer in the world capable of offering this technology. In March and April, the Munich-based company was honored with two German innovation awards for this outstanding technological achievement. Moreover, Pratt & Whitney and MTU have collaborated to design a new high-pressure compressor. MTU is responsible for the forward four stages and Pratt & Whitney for stages five to eight. The innovative compressor is a 100-percent blisk construction. Blisks (blade integrated disks) are a high-tech rotor design in which the disk and blades are produced as a single piece, eliminating the need for blade roots and disk slots. This lowers weight. MTU's total program workshare in the GTF is up to 18 percent.

The geared turbofan engine offers even more savings potential: Once it will have been further optimized, in a first step by improving its thrust generation efficiency – for instance through the further development of individual components or the use of a shrouded, counter-rotating prop fan, the concept for which had been developed by MTU already back in the 1980s – and, in a next step, by using a heat exchanger, it will help achieve fuel consumption and CO2 emission reductions of as much as 30 percent. MTU has launched its Claire technology program to work towards this goal, which it wants to have achieved by 2035.

About MTU Aero Engines
MTU Aero Engines, Germany's leading and the country's only independent engine manufacturer, is an established global player in the industry. It engages in the development, manufacture, marketing and support of commercial and military aircraft engines and industrial gas turbines. The company is a technological leader in low-pressure turbines, high-pressure compressors, manufacturing processes, and repair techniques. In the commercial maintenance area, MTU Maintenance is the world's largest independent provider of engine maintenance services. In the military arena, MTU Aero Engines is Germany's industrial lead company for practically all engines flown by the country's military. MTU operates affiliates around the globe; Munich is home to its corporate headquarters. In fiscal 2012, the company had a workforce of some 8,500 employees and posted consolidated sales of some 3.4 billion euros. In early March this year, the company won the German Industry’s 32nd Innovation Award, and in April, it was honored with the German Innovation Award. In both instances, MTU received the recognition for the geared turbofan™ engine’s high-speed low-pressure turbine.

Your contacts:

Melanie Wolf
Senior Manager Press & PR
Phone: +49 (0)89 14 89-26 98
Mobile: +49 (0) 170-799 6377 
Email: Melanie.Wolf@mtu.de

Martina Vollmuth
Press Officer Aviation
Phone: +49 (0)89 14 89-53 33
Mobile: +49 (0) 176-1001 7133
Email: Martina.Vollmuth@mtu.de

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