Boeing selects GE and Rolls to power 7E7

Boeing has selected two engine types, the General Electric GENX and Rolls-Royce Trent 1000, for its new Boeing 7E7 Dreamliner.

“The General Electric and Rolls-Royce engines will enable the 7E7 to fly higher, faster, farther, cleaner, quieter and more efficiently than comparable airplanes,” said 7E7 Senior Vice President Mike Bair. “Having an engine choice is a key consideration for our customers. We’re now offering two excellent options for the 7E7.”

According to Boeing, both engine types will be capable of providing between 55,000 and 70,000 lbs. of thrust, which will allow the three planned 7E7 models to use the same basic engines.

Boeing added in a statement that the 7E7 will reduce fuel use, and associated emissions, by 20 percent over airplanes of a comparable size. The engines will also help the 7E7 be significantly quieter than today’s airplanes.

Both engine types will use the same standard interface with the airplane, allowing any 7E7 twinjet to be fitted with either engine at any point in time. Engine interchangeability is said to make the 7E7 a flexible asset that can easily be moved among carriers. Other 7E7 innovations include the elimination of traditional bleed air systems in favour of a more electric architecture.

General Electric’s new engine, the GENX (GE Next Generation), is derived from the ultra-high-thrust GE90 engine, which has a proven track record on twin-engine aircraft.

GENX technologies include composite fan blades, the highest pressure-ratio compressor in aviation, and a single-annular combustor (where compressed air and fuel are mixed) to achieve dramatically lower emissions. The GENX will have its first full-engine test in 2006. The engine is being designed and tested at GE Transportation’s world headquarters in Evendale, Ohio. Final assembly will occur in Durham, N.C.

Rolls-Royce will produce a new variant of its Trent engine series to power the 7E7, the Trent 1000. It will be the fifth member of the Trent family to enter service featuring the three-shaft design layout.

Boeing says it is continuing to receive strong customer support for the 7E7 and has submitted a number of firm contract proposals to airlines. The company expects to launch the new airplane this year.