Bombardier Belfast boosts cleaner craft

Bombardier Aerospace in Belfast is to play a key role in a new push to develop cleaner aircraft engines.

A Bombardier team will lead the power plant element of the £95m Environmentally Friendly Engine (EFE) programme, a UK-wide initiative led by Rolls-Royce.

The £6m power plant element of EFE will include work on new nacelle concepts that could help reduce weight, drag and noise.

The global transport group’s Belfast facility is an established centre of excellence in nacelles, the enclosures that house aircraft engines, and provides complete systems for the engines that power Bombardier’s series of regional jets.

As part of the EFE initiative it will look at nacelle design, and ways of incorporating new manufacturing and materials technologies into their production.

Bombardier said major areas of investigation will include a new thrust reverser configuration, electric ice protection for the nacelle inlet and high performance acoustic treatments.

The Belfast facility is already involved in a UK-wide research project to develop a new generation of aircraft wings.

‘This is an excellent opportunity for us to hone our skills in nacelle design and to further develop and validate some of the technologies we have already been working on,’ said Michael Ryan, vice-president and general manager for Bombardier Aerospace Belfast.

Bombardier contributed just over £3m to the EFE programme, with a further £1.1m coming from Invest Northern Ireland and £2m from UK central government.