To transform air travel and assist in the combat of climate change, NASA is starting a new phase of its aeronautics research. The agency’s Hybrid Thermally Efficient Core (HyTEC) project intends to enhance aircraft engine combustors to guarantee that commercial aviation is cleaner, more effective, and more environmentally friendly in the future.
NASA has granted Pratt & Whitney a $13.1 million cost-share contract under HyTEC. During the contract duration, Pratt & Whitney, based in Hartford, CT, will match or surpass NASA’s contribution. This two-year collaboration aims to advance innovative combustor designs for small-core engines. The combustor, also known as the combustion chamber in an aviation engine, is where fuel is mixed with compressed air and ignited to produce the high-temperature gas that powers the engine.
NASA and Pratt & Whitney will evaluate how well these upcoming combustor concepts perform when powered by sustainable aviation fuels as part of their revolutionary engine combustor work. By using less energy, running on renewable fuels instead of fossil fuels, and enabling electrified propulsion for single-aisle commercial aircraft, the HyTEC project will ultimately provide extremely efficient jet engines to enable the future of sustainable aviation.
By 2050, the U.S. fleet will have grown and will require 40% more jet fuel, according to the United States 2021 Aviation Climate Action Plan. Sustainable fuels are essential weapons in the industry’s toolbox to lower net carbon emissions from commercial aircraft, even though efficiency improvements like small core engines help to lower the fuel demand. The expected rise in the use of renewable fuels would drastically cut the emissions from aviation worldwide and slow the climate change rate brought by transportation.