Engine selection could land GE $10 billion

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Boeing has selected General Electric’s GEnx engine to power the proposed 747 Advanced aeroplane.

The 747 Advanced is a 450-passenger aeroplane with an 8,000 nautical mile range. It will take advantage of 787 technologies, including the GEnx engine, to provide more payload and range than current 747s.

Boeing is forecasting a potential market for 250 to 300 aeroplanes. For the GEnx engine, that represents potential revenues exceeding $10 billion.

The GEnx, which is launched on Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, is the next-generation engine to succeed GE's CF6 series of aircraft engine. The GEnx engine, currently under development, will produce 55,000 to 72,000 pounds of thrust. For the 747 Advanced application, the GEnx will be rated at 63,500 to 66,500 pounds of thrust.

While the GEnx engine is a new design, it is based extensively on technologies GE has invested in over several years. Based on the architecture of the GE90 engine, the GEnx is reportedly the only jet engine being developed with both the front fan case and fan blades made of composite materials to provide greater engine durability and dramatic weight reduction.

The engine also features a new-generation combustor for efficient fuel mixing before ignition, which significantly lowers NOx levels. The first full GEnx engine will go to test in 2006, with engine certification scheduled for 2007.