GE announced GE to Net Zero, a new digital experience at the GE Pavilion during the 2022 Farnborough International Airshow where visitors can learn more about the company’s efforts to meet its ambition to be net-zero by 2050, associated with the use of sold products.
With an installed base of more than 39,000 commercial aircraft engines (including engines made by GE and joint ventures CFM International and Engine Alliance), GE is focused on supporting the aviation industry and its customers through today’s recovery while also shaping the future of flight with innovations that improve fuel efficiency. To that end, GE spent $1.6 billion on aviation research and development in 2021, including emissions-reducing technologies.
“We recently renewed our commercial engines portfolio, introducing more fuel-efficient engines than their predecessors. Over the last year, we’ve also outlined the technology building blocks we’re developing for the future to further improve fuel efficiency, compatible with lower-carbon alternative fuels,” said Allen Paxson, vice president and general manager of GE Aviation commercial program strategy.
“The challenges ahead of our aviation industry are significant. We take our role in supporting the industry through the current recovery, as well as accelerating the path to lower CO2 emissions seriously. We currently have one of the most robust innovation pipelines in our company’s more than 100-year history to help the industry become more sustainable,” Paxson said.
GE is taking bold action to define and develop technologies for the next generation of engines, including launching three key demonstration programs since June 2021. These efforts include a partnership between Airbus and CFM International (a 50-50 joint company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines) to conduct flight tests of a hydrogen-powered engine; a partnership with NASA and Boeing to develop and fly a megawatt-class hybrid electric propulsion system; and CFM’s RISE (Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engines) Program, which includes development of advanced new engine architectures such as open fan, along with other technologies. The goal of the RISE Program is to achieve at least 20% lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared to today’s most efficient engines.
Multiple ground and flight tests planned this decade will demonstrate new technologies for use in future commercial aircraft engines that could enter service beginning in the mid-2030s.
Meanwhile, this commitment to innovation and investment over decades has led to the following engines, services and software available now to reduce CO2 emissions from the existing fleet in service powered by GE and its partners:
• GE’s newest engine designs are more fuel efficient than the engines they replace. For example, GE9X is up to 10% more fuel efficient than the GE90 engine. Contributing to improved engine fuel efficiency is advanced materials such as Ceramic Matrix Composites and additively manufactured parts
• All GE, CFM and Engine Alliance (a 50-50 joint company between GE and Pratt & Whitney) engines can operate with approved sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) today, an alternative jet fuel with a lower lifecycle carbon footprint
• Systems technologies that bring additional efficiencies to aircraft performance include solutions to optimize flight paths, reducing fuel usage
• GE’s 360 Foam Wash is an advanced on-wing cleaning technology with a proprietary detergent to help ensure that engines continue to operate efficiently, reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
• Aviation software solutions from GE Digital make fuel savings recommendations, such as FlightPulse, a flight analytics tool for pilots
GE has tested biofuels since 2007 and continues to support SAF testing and flight demonstrations. GE holds leadership roles in SAF qualification and standardization bodies such as ASTM, including committees and task forces in charge of new pathway approvals, maintenance of the synthetic fuel specification, and standardization of 100% drop-in SAF. 100% SAF does not require blending with conventional jet fuel. GE also joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), an independent, international organization helping develop market policies for SAF and helping ensure SAF feedstock is resourced responsibly.
Additionally, GE is ambitiously pursuing its commitment to being carbon neutral by 2030 in its own facilities and operations, including Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. Efforts to reach this goal include upgrading buildings to more energy efficient heating and cooling systems, seeking lower carbon energy sources to power sites, and using lean practices to reduce waste. Through internal efforts of global teams across the business, GE Aviation facilities and operations have reduced Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by more than 20% since 2019.
More information on how GE is helping the aviation industry decarbonize, including a link to GE’s 2021 Sustainability Report, is available at www.GEAviation.com/Future-of-Flight. The recently released Sustainability Report outlines GE’s approach to achieving its 2050 net zero ambition for sold products, including guiding principles, progress to date, and planned investments into new technology maturation.