Safran Aircraft Engines is coordinating the demonstration of new Open Fan engine technologies within the frame of the Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking project OFELIA, which stands for Open Fan for Environmental Low Impact of Aviation. French engine manufacturer will be working with 26 industry European key partners, including Airbus, Avio Aero, GKN Aerospace, as well as research lab such as ONERA and academics from several countries across Europe. The OFELIA consortium is set to receive 100M€ in European funding from Clean Aviation.
OFELIA’s objective is to demonstrate the benefits of an open fan architecture in terms of efficiency to address the needs of future generation of Short & Medium Range (SMR) Aircraft around 2035, on the path towards industry target to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Open Fan aims to save 20% of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared to today’s narrow body engines. Under Clean Aviation’s OFELIA initiative, Safran Aircraft Engines and its partners will mature a set of technologies to TRL 5 for low-pressure systems, high-pressure core and advanced systems including hybridization that will pave the way to ground and flight test demonstrations on an Airbus A380 powered with an Open Fan by the middle of this decade. The consortium also targets to ensure the full compatibility of this disruptive architecture with Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) and hydrogen.
“As a world-leading military and commercial engine manufacturer, our responsibility is to develop key technologies that will lead to a more sustainable aviation, said Michel Brioude, Executive Vice President, Engineering and R&T, Safran Aircraft Engines. The Open Fan architecture is the major innovation of our CFM RISE technology demonstration program with GE Aerospace and stands as a key driver to improve next generation engine’s efficiency. We are looking forward to partnering with European industry leaders to shape the future of a clean aviation.”
The OFELIA roadmap will encompass more than 20 tests at partners’ facilities. Safran Aircraft Engines, Avio Aero and GKN Aerospace will work together to design and manufacture components for the Open Fan engine Demonstrator. In the meantime, thanks to this unique collaboration between the program partners with labs and academics, OFELIA will address specific topics of the technology maturation plan for the Open Fan, such as whirl flutter, unducted FAN, propeller and vanes, high speed booster, high speed low pressure turbine aerodynamics, high power compact reduction gearbox, light weight engine components, combustor emissions, high pressure compressor aerodynamics, engine hybridization. In order to be ready for the second phase of Clean Aviation focused on flight tests, Airbus will prepare the preliminary dossier for the Aircraft Flying Test Demonstrator.
“The OFELIA project is part of Clean Aviation’s 20 daring projects that are researching innovative solutions to power the next generation of sustainable aircraft. Together with the European Union, European aviation has the power to lead the way towards a climate-neutral aviation system and set new global standards for safe, reliable, affordable and clean air transport”, said Axel Krein Executive Director of Clean Aviation.
Safran Aircraft Engines is playing a key role in the Clean Aviation programme in accordance with its strategic roadmap that will explore several ways to reach ambitious goals towards decarbonization. The company is a partner on the HYDEA project, coordinated by Avio Aero, to develop key enabling technologies for a hydrogen combustion engine. In 2022, Airbus and CFM International signed a partnership agreement to collaborate on a hydrogen demonstration programme that will take flight around the middle of this decade.
About Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking
The Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking (clean-aviation.eu) is the European Union’s leading research and innovation programme for transforming aviation towards a sustainable and climate-neutral future. It is a successful European public-private partnership between the European Commission through Horizon Europe, the EU research and innovation programme, and the European aeronautics industry. It has a budget of €4.1 billion divided into €1.7 billion in EU funding and no less than €2.4 billion in private funding. The programme’s disruptive clean aviation technologies will help reduce the emission footprint of short-medium range aircraft by no less than 30% and -50% for regional range aircraft compared to 2020 state-of-the-art aircraft. Clean Aviation builds on the knowledge and expertise of the Clean Sky programmes (2008-2024).
Safran (safran-group.com) is an international high-technology group, operating in the aviation (propulsion, equipment and interiors), defense and space markets. Its core purpose is to contribute to a safer, more sustainable world, where air transport is more environmentally friendly, comfortable and accessible. Safran has a global presence, with 83 000 employees and sales of 19.0 billion euros in 2022, and holds, alone or in partnership, world or regional leadership positions in its core markets. Safran is listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange and is part of the CAC 40 and Euro Stoxx 50 indices.
Safran Aircraft Engines designs, produces and sells, alone or in partnership, commercial and military aircraft engines offering world-class performance, reliability and environmental compliance. Through CFM International*, Safran Aircraft Engines is the world's leading supplier of engines for single-aisle mainline commercial jets.
*CFM International is a 50-50 joint venture between Safran Aircraft Engines and GE.