Smarter, Cleaner, Greener: Our Sustainability Strategy for Cleaner Skies

The challenge that climate change presents to the world is also an opportunity for the global aviation industry to make change through new technology. The industry is meeting that challenge by pledging to achieve net zero CO2 emissions in aviation by 2050.

Pratt & Whitney, a business of Raytheon Technologies, supports this ambitious carbon emissions goal and last year we joined other leading aerospace industry companies in committing to net zero emissions by 2050. Later this year, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will convene its members at the 41st general assembly to consider adoption of a long-term goal for decarbonization of the aviation industry, a critical enabler for the establishment of unified international policies.

However, the industry has work to do now to ensure we meet the goal. We have implemented a strategic framework of three core elements to make Pratt & Whitney the leader in sustainable propulsion technologies, both today and tomorrow.

At the Farnborough Air Show, Sean Bradshaw, Pratt & Whitney technical fellow for Sustainable Propulsion, will provide an in-depth review of our pathway to net zero, including the latest propulsion technology, the role of fuel, and a viable timeline for sustainable aviation. His lecture takes place at the FINN Theatre, Hall 4, Monday, July 18 at 10:30 a.m.

 

The three core elements of our strategy are:

 

Smarter technology

Innovative propulsion systems that push the boundaries of fuel efficiency are at the heart of Pratt & Whitney’s sustainability efforts. We’ve already made multiple revolutionary advancements in aircraft engine efficiency with the Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engine, which increased fuel efficiency by 16-20% over prior generation engines. Since the GTF entered service in 2016, it enabled single-aisle aircraft operators to save 700 million gallons of fuel and avoid 7 million metric tonnes of CO2 emissions.

We continually improve engine efficiency, as evidenced by the recently launched PW127XT-M engine and the GTF Advantage engine, providing additional fuel efficiency and CO2 benefits. We also continue to drive technologies for our future products to increase both propulsive and core thermal efficiency, including using advanced materials such as ceramic matrix composites (CMCs), as we continue our proud legacy of increasing fuel efficiency and lowering CO2 emissions in every new generation of propulsion system we introduce.

We also are working hybrid-electric technologies for a wide range of applications, having announced development of a regional aircraft scale hybrid-electric flight demonstrator that targets a 30% reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions, with plans to eventually apply this technology to larger aircraft. We’re leveraging our collaboration with Collins Aerospace to help pioneer this technology, and we’re looking forward to announcing updates on our hybridelectric programs during the Farnborough week.

 

Cleaner fuel

Reducing the amount of fossil fuels that our propulsion systems use and increasing fuel efficiency are critical to making net zero aviation a reality. SAFs already provide a solution but need consistent international policies that enable scale up of supply.

Pratt & Whitney continues to collaborate with industry organizations like CAAFI and ASTM International to advance SAF-related standards and technologies. We recently completed successful testing of 100% SAF in our GTF Advantage engine and are partnering with Air bp to carry out additional testing of SAF blends.

Beyond SAF, we’re developing technologies to harness the potential of zero-emissions flight with hydrogen fuel. Pratt & Whitney was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program to develop propulsion technology optimized to take full advantage of the cryogenic properties of liquid hydrogen fuel that could be up to 35% more efficient and produce 80% less NOx than today’s most efficient single aisle aircraft.

 

Greener business

While it’s important to build better, smarter, more environmentally friendly propulsion systems for our customers, it’s essential that we also get our own house in order. This is why Pratt & Whitney is improving our operations and working to reduce the environmental impact of our factories and facilities.

Our Environmental, Health & Safety (EH&S) goals provide clear targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, and waste, and give us clear metrics to measure our progress. Since 2006, we have reduced annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2.9 million metric tons of CO2 emissions and we increased waste recycling while reducing annual water consumption.

Our commitment to operating cleaner, more sustainable facilities led us to invest in a new 1.2 million square-foot turbine airfoil production facility in Asheville, N.C., that was built from the ground up to reduce the unnecessary travel of parts and decrease the environmental impact of our manufacturing process.

By embracing smarter engines and technologies, cleaner fuels, and greener business and operations, we are confident we can meet our goal of achieving net zero emissions for aviation by 2050.

 

Author: Graham Webb, Pratt & Whitney Chief Sustainability Officer


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