In the debate about the environment, airplanes can be the elephant in the room. Much like the elephant, their size works for and against them. They can haul several hundred people at once but have a reputation for being big, loud, gas-guzzling machines.
How can they reduce carbon emissions, be more fuel-efficient and cut down on the noise?
There’s a behind-the-scenes revolution going on aimed at tackling those very questions. The brains behind the transformation come out of Pratt & Whitney, one of the largest divisions of United Technologies. Pratt is working to produce the PurePower® Geared Turbofan™ engine family, a product line developed to provide more eco-conscious solutions for the airline industry.
See – or hear – the PurePower engine in action.
The PurePower engine has been 20 years in the making, with United Technologies and Pratt investing significant R&D resources—$1 billion on the gear, which allows engine components to spin at optimal rates, and $10 billion on the engine itself. Today, the company is poised to revolutionize the business of air travel by supplying airlines with engines that dramatically reduce carbon emissions. These engines also improve the economy by adding hundreds of jobs to the U.S. supply chain.
“Our goal with this design was to help our airline customers reduce their costs of operation per aircraft while making their fleets more sustainable and quiet,” said Paul Adams, president, Pratt & Whitney.
Here’s a look at three ways the PurePower engine can help airlines be more lean and green:
Becoming more fuel efficient and reducing the carbon footprint: Continually striving for greater fuel-efficiency is central to reducing impact on the environment. With better fuel efficiency comes less carbon emissions. P&W’s PurePower engine offers the airline industry a revolutionary chance to get ahead with a product that burns up to 16% less fuel. That dramatically lowers fuel costs per airplane for the company and gives passengers peace of mind.
Burning less fuel over longer routes: P&W recently launched the newest addition to the PurePower engine family, the PW1135G-JM, a 35,000 thrust class engine. The engine’s higher thrust allows operators to fly routes of greater distance—or out of high altitude airports, such as Mexico City and Bogota—while carrying more passengers or larger payloads.
Bringing down the noise: Every day hundreds of planes take off and land. With the FAA expecting air travel to nearly double in the next 20 years, the world’s increasingly busy airports are operating near capacity. Simply reducing the noise an airplane makes during takeoff and landing will allow airports to extend runway hours and allow more jets to service passengers. P&W’s engine remarkably reduces aircraft noise footprints by up to 75%.
When the first plane powered with a PurePower engine took off in Montreal last year, the jet was so quiet that some of the spectators almost missed it, prompting Porter Airlines Chief Executive Robert Deluce to call it the “whisper jet.”
To date, the PurePower GTF engine family has more than 6,000 orders and commitments, including options, from more than 60 global customers. The PurePower engine will be on six aircraft platforms, including the Airbus A320neo family, the Bombardier CSeries, the Embraer E-jets E2 family, the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, the Irkut MS-21 aircraft and the Gulfstream G500 and G600.