Now plans are being drawn up for a second, larger research program, Clean Sky 2, to run in 2014-20. If approved, this would take technologies to higher readiness through more integrated large-scale demonstrators, as well as developing more advanced ideas for future aircraft. Proposals are to be submitted in November.
With €800 million in government funding and €800 million from industry, Clean Sky is the largest aviation research program in Europe. Focused on the environment, it includes a range of ground and flight demonstrators for laminar-flow wings, fuel-efficient engines, low-emissions helicopters, more-electric systems and lightweight recyclable structures.
Clean Sky is aimed at developing technologies to meet goals European industry has itself set for 2020, including a 50% reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions versus a year 2000 baseline. Clean Sky 2 will be shaped by a longer-range vision to reduce air transport CO2 emissions 75% by 2050, while also increasing mobility and safety.
“We are close to the middle of the program, with another four years to the final demonstrations,” says Eric Dautriat, executive director of the Clean Sky joint undertaking. The program is on target to complete its work in 2017 and Dautriat says, “by the end of this year, we will have spent more than 50%” of the budget.
The first formal assessment of the technologies being developed under Clean Sky shows the program is on track to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% and significantly reduce noise, making the program the largest single contributor to meeting the industry’s goals for 2020.
The first two Clean Sky demonstrators, a three-shaft turbofan led by Rolls-Royce and a helicopter turboshaft led by Turbomeca, will run this year. “Most of the demonstrators are on time. Delays are in months, not years,” Dautriat says, and largely due to priority issues within companies between Clean Sky and other projects. “That’s the real life of research,” he says.
There have been some adjustments. Of two open-rotor engines under Clean Sky, only the demonstrator led by Safran will now be flight-tested. The engine led by Rolls has been pushed back, but replaced by a lean-burn demonstrator “that brings more to Clean Sky and aligns with Rolls-Royce’s strategy. We can now tackle the NOx parameter,” he says.