GE Aviation And Safran To Develop Engines For Next Gen Passenger Aircraft

Hosting a press event together on June 14th, GE Aviation and Safran announced their next joint project: The CFM RISE. This will be a next-generation engine designed to consume less fuel and produce lower levels of CO2 emissions. An open fan architecture and hybrid electric capability are among the key features of this new project.

GE Aviation And Safran To Develop Engines For Next Gen Passenger Aircraft
A visualization of what the CFM RISE will look like when installed on future aircraft. Photo: Safran

A focus on sustainability

With decades spent cooperating on bringing CFM engines to market, GE Aviation and Safran will continue to work together far into the future with their next joint project: The CFM RISE program. RISE stands for “Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engines” and is said to be an upcoming ‘disruptive technology’ for future engines.

RISE is targeting a 20% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared to today’s engines. The two companies on Monday declared their intent to be leaders for more sustainable aviation, in line with an industry target to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050.

In an official statement, GE Aviation’s chief said the following:

“Together, through the RISE technology demonstration program, we are reinventing the future of flight, bringing an advanced suite of revolutionary technologies to market that will take the next generation of single-aisle aircraft to a new level of fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.” -John Slattery, President and CEO of GE Aviation

GE Aviation And Safran To Develop Engines For Next Gen Passenger Aircraft
This new engine concept will have an open architecture without a casing around it. Photo: Safran

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No engine casing, hybrid electric capability

So what will allow CFM to attain that 20% reduction in fuel burn? According to the companies, the efficiency achieved by RISE will be enabled by an ‘open fan architecture.’ 

“The open fan architecture eliminates the whole structure that sits around the fan, so you take a lot of weight out. You take a lot of drag out and you get the ultimate propulsive efficiency. It’s impossible to get any better.” -Arjan Hegeman, General Manager of Advanced Technology Operation, GE Aviation via Aviation Week

CFM notes that this engine will deliver the same speed and cabin experience as current single-aisle aircraft.

It is also noted that the program will use hybrid electric capability “to optimize engine efficiency while enabling electrification of many aircraft systems.” Other highlights include:

  • Composite fan blades
  • Heat resistant metal alloys
  • Ceramic matrix composites (CMCs)
  • 100% compatibility with alternative energy sources such as Sustainable Aviation Fuels and hydrogen
GE Aviation And Safran To Develop Engines For Next Gen Passenger Aircraft
CFM is a joint venture between GE Aviation and Safran. Photo: Safran

Entry into service as early as the mid-2030s

While it’s always exciting to see what the latest technology will bring to aviation, it should be noted that entry-into-service is over a decade away. In fact, a demonstrator engine isn’t scheduled to begin testing until around the middle of this decade, with flight tests “soon thereafter.” GE Aviation and Safran note that the engine could enter service by the mid-2030s.

What do you think of the CFM RISE and its proposed design and features? Do you think this project will become a reality, and enter service on schedule? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment.