Invest NI supports development of "greener" engine

Invest Northern Ireland today announced its support for a £6 million project, being taken forward by Bombardier, to help develop the next generation of aircraft engine which will have less impact on the environment than current aircraft engines.

The project is part of the UK-wide Environmentally Friendly Engines (EFE) initiative, a £95 million industrial research programme led by Rolls-Royce in collaboration with the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) and economic development agencies around the UK.

Invest NI has offered over £1 million towards a total investment of over £6 million in the particular element of the scheme which Bombardier is taking forward.

Bombardier is developing the nacelle, or engine cowling, which will be lighter, quieter and more aerodynamic than those utilising current technology. This will help to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and oxides of nitrogen, as well as engine noise. The company is working closely with Queen’s University Belfast in developing some of the technologies that will be used in the project.

Over the next five years, the EFE programme will bring together research technologies being developed around the UK and test them to ensure effectiveness before they are incorporated in the development of new aircraft engines. The scheme will help deliver the long term environmental and technological goals set by the National Aerospace Technology Strategy.

Tracy Meharg, Invest Northern Ireland’s Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development, highlighted Bombardier’s commitment to innovation as a key factor in its participation in the EFE programme: “Northern Ireland has a buoyant aerospace sector and companies such as Bombardier play a major role in driving the industry’s global competitiveness by focussing on innovation and investing in new technologies. The company’s involvement in this strategic national programme will encourage knowledge transfer and collaboration throughout the local sector. This can only strengthen its position as the industry responds to the challenge of developing more environmentally friendly solutions.”

Michael Ryan, Vice President and General Manager of Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast, said: “Engine nacelle technology will play a key role in helping to ensure future aircraft are quieter, lighter, and more efficient. This important research project provides an excellent opportunity to further develop our expertise and technologies in this area of aircraft engine nacelle design, manufacture and maintenance where we have become an international centre of excellence.”