The new LEAP engine, developed by CFM, has literally taken leaps in engine innovation in both fuel and cost efficiency.
Scheduled to enter service in 2016, GE in collaboration with Snecma, Airbus, Boeing, COMAC and Nexcelle, are working to develop CFM LEAP aircraft engines for the Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 Max and COMAC C919 families of planes. By utilizing an extensive suite of advanced engine technologies, these engines are being designed to provide significant reductions in fuel burn, noise and NOx emissions compared to the current CFM engine models offered in this aircraft class, at equivalent levels of maintenance cost and reliability.
Engineers at GE Global Research are supporting development of the low emissions combustor (second-generation twin-annular pre-swirl (TAPS) technology). NOx levels will meet CAEP/6 requirements with 50% margin, while the overall engine achieves double-digit fuel burn improvement compared to currently produced CFM56 engines.
In GE’s state-of-the-art combustion test cells, single nozzles can be tested on specially designed rigs that allow researchers to visually observe and study spray and flame characteristics. Global Research’s combustion team also employs supercomputing to understand these phenomena. GE researchers can generate highly complex computer simulation models that reveal the underlying physics of fuel injection and combustion. This knowledge, in turn, can accelerate new developments by significantly reducing the number of trials needed in the lab to test new injector geometries.
GE has a world-class team of over 500 technologists driving new combustion technologies to support an array of land-and-air-based propulsion systems. For all of these applications, the thrust of our research is the same—to deliver new technologies that improve performance, reduce emissions and enable our engines to handle a variety of different fuels. The CFM LEAP is a great example of GE’s commitment to collaborative research and technological excellence.