Safran and General Electric to develop the engine for the aircraft of the future

Modeling of the future engine that Safran and GE Aviation will develop as part of the RISE (Revolutionary innovation for sustainable engines) program, June 14, 2021. CFM INTERNATIONAL / VIA REUTERS

The aircraft of the future will not fly at best before 2035, but it already has its engine. The French Safran and the American General Electric (GE), united in the partnership at 50-50 CFM International, announced on Monday June 14 the launch of a program to develop new technologies to equip a new generation engine. much less polluting and more fuel-intensive than current models.

Dubbed “RISE” – for “Revolutionay Innovation for Sustainable Engines”, this project aims to bring a next generation engine into service in the middle of the next decade. According to Olivier Andriès, CEO of Safran, and John Slattery, CEO of GE Aviation, the future propellant is expected to consume 20% less fuel and correspondingly reduce its carbon dioxide (CO2). A low estimate, because at Safran, we expect a real technological breakthrough.

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This new generation engine, whose rotor will no longer be shrouded – for increased efficiency – should even be even more efficient with the addition “Current low-carbon biofuels”, specifies François Bastin, director of the civil engines division of Safran Aircraft Engines. With these biofuels, “50% carbon-free”, consumption could be reduced by 60%, anticipates the leader. It will only be a step. Ultimately, “The future engine will be able to operate with completely carbon-free fuels”, specifies Mr. Bastin. It could even be powered by liquid hydrogen and thus completely reduce its CO emissions.2.

Considerable stake

For Safran and GE, the first phase will be the development of a demonstrator, by 2025, in order to test the new technologies developed by the two partners. The new engine should swallow up most of the research and technology (R&T) budget of the French engine manufacturer and the American group. Olivier Andriès and John Slattery have not quantified this financial effort.

In 2020, Safran’s total research and technology budget amounted to € 1.21 billion

Nevertheless, the RISE project could capture a good part of the «75% of [l’]financial effort [de Safran] to reduce CO emissions2 », underlines its general manager. In 2020, the engine manufacturer’s total R&T budget amounted to € 1.21 billion. According to our information, GE would devote an equivalent envelope to the development of less polluting technologies.

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