Engine maker helping air travel reduce carbon emissions

Brian Pedersen//November 5, 2019

Engine maker helping air travel reduce carbon emissions

Brian Pedersen//November 5, 2019

Aviation businesses are concerned about keeping their costs low in addition to making their equipment more energy efficient.

“They are absolutely fanatic about driving down the fuel consumption,” said Paul Finklestein, director of marketing for Pratt & Whitney, an aerospace manufacturer based in East Hartford, Connecticut. “As an industry, we’ve set a very aggressive goal that we want to be carbon neutral by 2025 based on 2005 levels.”

Pratt & Whitney also has a facility in Middletown, Dauphin County, called Pratt & Whitney Amercon that manufactures jet engine parts. The facility is working to make its manufacturing processes more environmentally friendly.

One way they are doing that is by developing new engine technology, such as the GTF (geared turbofan) engine, which the company officials say significantly reduces fuel, noise and carbon dioxide.

The engine has been in service since 2016 and the company invested more than $10 billion in the technology.

The technology is in about 550 planes, Finklestein said, saving about 150 million gallons of fuel, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by about 1.5 million tons, the equivalent of taking about 500,000 cars of the road.

Primarily, the industry wants to reduce its operating costs, and fuel makes up a significant component of those costs, he added.

“We want to be seen as an industry that’s very clean and very green,” Finklestein said.

Finklestein said he believes the use of biofuels will increase as an alternative source of fuel.

In addition, airlines are retiring aircraft once those planes hit 25 to 30 years of service.

“The reduction or retirement of older planes… will significantly reduce the carbon footprint,” he said. “There’s a large amount of airplanes that will soon be ready to retire.”