Advanced tube and wing aircraft design illustration
The project "Ultra Low emission Technology Innovations for Mid-century Aircraft Turbine Engines", abbreviated "Ultimate" has been running for three years targeted radical concepts for new aero engines, in line with the EU’s long-term emissions reduction target for 2050. The EU is highlighting the project as a success.
Could save 3 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions over the first 20 years after 2050
To address this challenge, the ULTIMATE project has developed radical new propulsion concepts that should help the aviation industry meet the targets. The partners have studied how different technologies could be combined to work together in synergy to improve efficiency and reduce emissions. If fully implemented, the engine concepts proposed by the ULTIMATE project could save 3 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions over the first 20 years after 2050.
“The technologies combined in our new engine systems benefit one another. This is the first time that the synergies between different radical engine technologies have been explored systematically to create low-emission propulsion engines.” says project lead Tomas Grönstedt of the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences at Chalmers University of Technology.
From a long list of possible aero-engine technologies, the ULTIMATE team has focused on those that will work most effectively together. Next, the project team made system models and based on efficiency estimates for each component, they were able to accurately predict how new and existing engine system components would interact and optimise the engine performance cycles. These new jet engines could dramatically improve aircraft efficiency and reduce emissions. They may also be used in novel aircraft designs, with new fuels such as biofuels, hydrogen or methane, and together with turboelectric systems.
Radical engine concepts work
Grönstedt emphasises the importance of the project outcomes: “Radical improvements to aviation will only happen if the engineering community believes they are possible. Engineers don’t like to introduce unnecessary technical risk and they need to know that improvements can be made economically. The ULTIMATE project has indicated that such engines are feasible, which will help to increase confidence in these radical concepts.”