The test phase of the ANTLE (Affordable Near Term Low Emissions) engine has reached its end. This experimental vehicle for mid-term aircraft engine technology is part of the EEFAE project (Efficient and Environmentally Friendly Aircraft Engine), the largest scale aeronautic research programme ever launched by the European Union in the area of propulsion.
Industria de Turbo Propulsores, S. A. (ITP) has been responsible for the design, manufacture and assembly of the Low Pressure Turbine (LPT) of this engine and for the (external) engine casing.
The series of tests which took place between the months of February and May in the Spanish National Aerospace Institute (INTA) represent the culmination of five years of coordinated research by companies and institutions from throughout the European aerospace sector.
Along with ITP, also contributing to the ANTLE, which is based on a Rolls-Royce tri-shaft engine, were the Italian company Avio, responsible for the intermediate pressure turbine, and Rolls-Royce Deutschland, in charge of the high pressure compressor. The low-emission combustion chamber and the high pressure turbine have been developed through a national programme in Britain under the leadership of Rolls-Royce UK, and the support framework for the rear bearing was the responsibility of Volvo Aero.
ITP has a 20% stake in the programme, taking responsibility for a new low pressure turbine the technology for which will have applications in the engines that it will be contributing to in the near future. Collaboration in this European project has also been backed up by national programmes working on the engine casing and on the full scale prototype for aerodynamic tests which called for an investment of nearly 10 million euros. Overall, all of the work related to the LPT has cost a total of 20.5 million euros.
Also contributing to the demonstration model were the following: Eldim, Hispano-Suiza, Howmet, Goodrich, Calidus, Techspace Aero and the universities of Florence and Luleå.
The technological objectives of this experimental engine are orientated towards increased competitiveness and a reduction in emissions for those engines which go into service in 2008. These objectives are notable for the extremely exacting nature of their environmental and consumption targets:
--Reduction to consumption / reduction in CO2 emissions: 12%
--Reduction in NOx emissions: 60%
--Reduction in acquisition costs: 20%
--Reduction in life-cycle costs: 30%
--Reduction in development cycle: 50%
--Increase in reliability: 60%
The ANTLE is one of two experimental engines that make up the technology platform EEFAE, a body which counts on a budgetary provision of over 100 million euros. The second, which shares in the budget equally with the ANTLE, is named CLEAN and is aimed at finding longer term applications for technology.
The activities of the ITP Group, with shares held by Sener Aeronáutica (53.125%) and Rolls-Royce (46.875%), include Engineering, Research and Development, Manufacture and Casting, Assembly and Testing of aircraft engines and gas turbines. It also performs engine and aircraft maintenance activities, provides leasing services and sells/purchases engines. It is also the official maintenance service for most engine manufacturers, with the capacity to repair over 400 engines per year. The company has 11 production facilities in Spain, Great Britain, Mexico and the U.S. and 2,200 employees.