The US Air Force awarded a unit of General Dynamics an $18.5 million contract this month to develop a greener jet engine, reported the Dayton Business Journal.
The company says the new engine will be designed and built with parts that do not corrode, will not use or release hazardous materials and operates with minimal environmental impact on air emissions and noise.
Airlines have been hit hard by exorbitant fuel costs, and have pledged to reduce their carbon emissions by taking several steps toward greener aviation.
In the search for greener fuels, Virgin Atlantic flew one of its Boeing 747 jumbo jets on biofuel from London Heathrow to Amsterdam, while Airbus completed the first test flight of a commercial airliner using a liquid fuel processed from gas (Gas to Liquids – GTL) to evaluate the environmental impact of alternative fuels in the airline market. Airbus, Jetblue and International Aero Engines are all interested in the potential of “second-generation” feed stocks such as algae.
In addition to designing lighter weight, more aero-dynamic planes, aviation engineers are working to design more fuel efficient engines. Southwest Airlines said it would save $42 million in fuel this year by extending each flight by one to three minutes, and the industry held its first Eco-Aviation conference in 2008, reports Wired.
Read more about what airlines are doing to cut emissions here.