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GKN leads development of fan thruster for electric aircraft
Thursday, 14 October 2021
The EleFanT project run by GKN and KTH looks at a nested fan to power electric aircraft. The safe, quiet and easy-to-install engine will be delivered from GKN’s Global Technology Centre in Trollhättan, Sweden.

GKN Aerospace and KTH, the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology, are to collaborate on the development of fan technology for smaller regional aircraft. The one and a half year project will cover aerodynamic design, performance, noise and manufacturing technology for a nested fan that is powered by electricity from batteries, hydrogen fuel cells or conventional hybrid propulsion solutions.

The nested fan propulsion solution offers significant advantages over a conventional propeller in three main areas: safety, noise level and engine installation. By rapidly demonstrating fan technology for electric aviation, the EleFanT project will accelerate the pace of electric aviation development and position the participants for international aero-engine and aircraft development projects.

GKN Aerospace VP Henrik Runnemalm says: "We are very positive about this initiative, which helps us to become part of the solution to aviation's climate challenge. We will benefit greatly from GKN Aerospace and KTH's long experience in turbomachines, lightweight construction and advanced manufacturing technology. From an electrification and sustainability perspective the project is strongly aligned with our recently announced H2GEAR and H2JET programmes.”

The H2GEAR programme explores a liquid hydrogen propulsion system for sub-regional aircraft while the H2JET programme looks at hydrogen combustion-powered turboprop or turbofan engines for the single aisle market, for potential entry into service on intra-European routes in 2035. GKN and KTH hope the parallel development of different types of propulsion solutions for aircraft engines will accelerate Europe’s ambitious 2050 net zero emissions roadmap.

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GKN Aerospace Engine Systems Combustion Chambers, Compressors, Engine Housings, Engine Nozzles, Engine Parts, Exhaust Systems, Shafts & Shaft Assemblies, Turbofan Engines
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Power Transmission