NASA and GE Aviation are testing a new “open rotor” jet engine with a different design that puts the fan blades on the outside of the engine. The jet fuel consumption will be reduced by more than 30 percent. In the 80s, NASA and GE designed the engine named GE36, and developed it into a product, but because of falling oil prices the product was never commercialized.
Yet this year, in the face of rising fuel cost, they have decided to to revive the jet engine design and at NASA’s Glenn Research Center, where GE36 wast tested, and plan to start wind-tunnel tests in early 2009.
According to the European Climate Action Network, the exhaust from kerosene-burning jet engines is already responsible for 4 to 9 percent of the climate change impact because it releases high up into the atmosphere. Many air travel industry companies are trying to reduce emissions. There are also energy companies trying to use biofuels instead of the classic kerosene, such as Sapphire Energy, Solazyme and Aquaflow Binomic.