Future demands on the air transport systems dictate that aircraft should be less polluting, less noisy and more fuel efficient. Also, in the long-term alternative fuels like bio-fuels and hydrogen will replace the traditional jet fuel.
The ACARE in Europe has identified that CO2 emissions and perceived noise levels should be reduced by half and NOx emission be reduced by 80% by 2020. However recent ACARE studies indicate that these targets cannot be achieved using current incremental technological improvements. As the new ACARE environmental and efficiency targets for 2050 will be even more demanding, there is an urgent need for breakthrough technologies.
The hybrid engine proposed in AHEAD is a novel propulsion system with a different architecture as compared to the conventional turbofan engine. The hybrid engine uses several unique technologies like shrouded contra-rotating fans, bleed cooling and a dual hybrid combustion system (using hydrogen and bio-fuel under flameless conditions to reduce CO2 and NOx emission respectively).
The AHEAD project aims to establish the feasibility of the proposed hybrid engine configuration and will demonstrate that the concept will substantially lower the engine emissions, installation drag and noise.
The hybrid engine proposed in AHEAD will constitute a leap forward in terms of environmental friendliness. It will use advanced multiple fuels and will enable the design of fuel-efficient Blended Wing Body ("BWB") aircraft configurations.
The efficiency of BWB aircraft will be enhanced significantly due to embedded hybrid engines using the boundary layer ingestion method.
The BWB configuration along with the proposed hybrid engine concept will bring in the much required breakthrough in civil aviation. The project will also evaluate the effect of LH2 storage on BWB aircraft and its integration with embedded hybrid engines and the environmental gains achieved. Special attention will be directed to evaluate the effect of H2O emission on the environment.
Results so far have exceeded the planned objectives. The preliminary design of the BWB aircraft is complete. The hybrid engine architecture has been optimised. The bleed cooling system has been defined and the heat exchanger is being evaluated for patent submission. Computational fluid dynamic simulations helped in selecting the best geometry for the hydrogen combustion chamber that is now being manufactured.
For publications use this URL: http://www.ahead-euproject.eu/dissemination/