FAA Invests in Reducing Aviation Noise and Emissions

FAA CLEEN LogoThe Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently announced it has awarded more than $100 million for companies to develop technologies that reduce fuel use, emissions and noise. The Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) Program is part the FAA’s overall strategy to reduce aviation impacts. The program requires contract recipients to match or exceed the FAA’s investment, bringing the total investment to at least $200 million over a five-year period.  These awards are the third phase of the FAA’s CLEEN Program.  

FAA invested a total of $225 million in the first two phases of the CLEEN Program. These phases funded projects, such as developing enhanced departure climb noise abatement procedures, engine and fan improvements to reduce noise, Flight Management System algorithms to enable aircraft to fly more fuel-efficient routes, testing that led to the certification for safe use of several sustainable jet fuel, enhanced jet engine combustion systems, and aircraft wings made of stronger and lighter weight materials. 

Technologies developed through the CLEEN Program have begun to be incorporated into fleets and additional technologies are anticipated to enter service in coming years. Additionally, the knowledge gained from the development of these technologies is leading to improved environmental performance across the industry. 

The CLEEN Program projects completed so far are estimated to decrease land area exposed to aviation noise by 14 percent, to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 424 metric tons (the equivalent of removing 3 million cars from the road by 2050), and to save 36 billion gallons of fuel (the equivalent of 11.4 million Boeing 737 flights between New York and Los Angeles). 

Under CLEEN Phase III, the FAA and six industry partners will focus on reducing aviation emissions and noise through advancements in engine fan, combustion, and propulsion systems. CLEEN Phase III goals include reducing: CO2 emissions by improving fuel efficiency by at least 20 percent below the relevant International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard; nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 70 percent relative to the most recent ICAO standard; particulate matter emissions below the ICAO standard; and noise by 25 decibels (dB) cumulative relative to the current FAA Stage 5 standard. 

CLEEN Phase III noise goals also include developing and demonstrating certifiable aircraft technology that (1) reduces community noise exposure and (2) reduces noise levels during the landing and takeoff (LTO) cycle for civil supersonic airplanes.  

A dozen projects include aircraft noise reduction goals. Most will seek modest noise reduction benefits, 0.5-3 EPNdB (effective perceived noise in decibels), that produce a cumulative improvement over time in aircraft noise reduction. Two of the projects have potential to provide significant noise reduction benefits: one in reducing the level of aircraft engine noise and the other in reducing community exposure to aircraft noise. General Electric Aviation will develop an engine fan optimized for noise and fuel burn that is expected to reduce noise by a cumulative 13 EPNdB margin relative to FAA Stage 5 aircraft noise certification standards. Boeing will develop real-time, noise-optimized flight path algorithms for departure and arrival paths. This project is expected to produce a peak noise reduction of 3-5 dBA, which would be a noticeable difference to communities.  

CLEEN III Program projects include: 

  • General Electric Aviation will develop an advanced engine propulsion system and advanced acoustic improvements to reduce noise and fuel consumption; electric and hybridelectric systems to increase fuel efficiency; and advanced combustion and thermal management systems to reduce emissions and fuel consumption. The company also will support the evaluation of alternative jet fuels that could enable further aircraft performance improvements. 
  • Honeywell Aerospace will develop a more efficient engine fan, combustion system, compressor, and turbine to reduce noise, emissions, and fuel consumption. 
  • Pratt & Whitney will develop an ultra-quiet engine fan and an advanced combustion system to reduce noise, emissions, and fuel consumption. 
  • Boeing will develop technologies to reduce noise from the wings, landing gear, and engine inlets. The company also will support the evaluation of alternative jet fuels that could enable further aircraft performance improvements, and help to develop new algorithms that enable aircraft to fly quieter, more fuel-efficient routes. 
  • Delta TechOps, GKN Aerospace, MDS Coating, and America’s Phenix will work together to develop erosion-resistant fan blade coatings to reduce fuel consumption over the life of an engine. 
  • Rohr Inc. will develop acoustic technology to reduce the noise from engine exhausts. FAA said it also is pursuing agreements with Rolls-Royce Corporation and Safran Nacelles. 

More information about the CLEEN Program is available here