Boeing said today it picked GE as the engine partner for the next-generation of its 777 long-range passenger jet. “We are studying airplane improvements that will extend today’s 777 efficiencies and reliability for the next two decades or longer, and the engines are a significant part of that effort,“ said Bob Feldmann, vice president and general manager for the 777X development project at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
The Boeing 777 is the world’s most successful twin-engine, long-haul airplane. The latest generation of planes, the 777-300ER, the 777-200LR and also 777 freighters, use exclusively the GE90-115B engine, which reigns as the world’s most powerful jet engine.
The GE90 would turn the Titanic into a speedboat.
In 2002, the GE90-115B engine generated 127,900 pounds of thrust at a GE test stand in Peebles, Ohio. That’s more than the combined total horsepower of the Titanic (46,000 pounds) and the Redstone rocket (76,000 pounds) that took the first American, Alan Shepard, to space. The feat earned the engine a spot in the Guinness World Records book.
The engine is also a study in innovation and applied design. The sinuous, efficient curves of the engine’s carbon fiber composite fan blades that pull thousands of pounds of air per second inside the engine are so graceful that New York’s Museum of Modern Art picked one for its Architecture and Design Collection.
GE has delivered more than 1,000 GE90 engines to Boeing. GE engineers have started working on an engine study, called GE9X, for the next-generation GE90 engine, which is designed specifically for the 777X plane. “The GE9X engine study is focused on improvements in fuel burn, noise and emission over the current GE90-115B engine while maintaining comparable reliability and maintenance cost,” said Bill Millhaem, general manager of the GE90 program at GE Aviation.
The engine core will have parts manufactured from a revolutionary new material called ceramic matrix composite. The material can work at temperatures as high as 2,400 F, higher than any advanced alloy. These innovations will help GE improve fuel efficiency by 10 percent, compared to today’s GE90 engines, saving airlines millions.