Commercial engines

Pilot concepts for commercial applications: Geared turbofan™ and other concepts

Advanced turbofan versus geared turbofan

Today, the turbofan engine has found a home on practically all jet-propelled aircraft. However, the ambitious emission goals of ACARE 2020 cannot be fully met with the turbofan concept.

Further developments of the turbofan are aimed at raising its bypass ratio to a little above ten and optimizing individual components for better aerodynamic efficiency and lower weight. A high bypass ratio is key to effectively reducing consumption and noise.

Geared turbofan: A concept that offers great potential

The geared turbofanTM (GTF) is the engine concept of the future. MTU is partnering with Pratt & Whitney on demonstrator and development programs for this new generation of engines.

What sets this novel propulsion system apart is that it features a reduction gear between the fan and low-pressure shaft with the low-pressure compressor and low-pressure turbine. Uncoupling the two components allows the fan with its large diameter to rotate at a slower speed and the low-pressure compressor and turbine much faster. This lets the individual components achieve their respective optimum speed, greatly boosting the bypass ratios. The result is a very high overall efficiency accompanied by a significant reduction in fuel consumption, emissions of carbon dioxide and noise.

Mitsubishi, Bombardier, Irkut, Airbus and Embraer have selected the geared turbofan for their new regional jets or short- and medium-haul aircraft. The engine has already entered revenue service on the Airbus A320neo and the Bombardier CSeries jets. The next GTF-powered aircraft, the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), Irkut's MC-21 and Embraer's new E-Jets, will follow soon.

Other showpieces in MTU's commercial engine portfolio are the V2500 for the Airbus A320 family, the GP7000 for the Airbus A380, the GEnx for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and 747-8, and the GE9X, the exclusive powerplant for the Boeing 777X.

More Electric Engine

On the next generation of aircraft, experts anticipate electric power requirements to markedly increase, not least because the air conditioning system, for example, will no longer operate on engine bleed air but on electricity. On the engine proper, too, the advantage is that mechanical and hydraulic components can be replaced with electric units which are efficient, flexible to accommodate and smarter. The More Electric Engine of the future will come with a plurality of sensors, electric motors and control elements, posing new power management, control engineering and engine monitoring challenges. MTU will work consistently towards developing the requisite technologies.

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What are pilot concepts?

Pilot concepts describe the engines of future generations. Individual pilot concepts outline potential engine architectures for a certain application category believed to satisfy future market requirements. Pilot concepts specify the general direction technology development is supposed to take.