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Recuperated gas turbine aeroengines. Part III: engine concepts for reduced emissions, lower fuel consumption, and noise abatement

Colin F. McDonald (McDonald Thermal Engineering, La Jolla, California, USA)
Aristide F. Massardo (Faculty of Engineering, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy)
Colin Rodgers (ITC, San Diego, California, USA)
Aubrey Stone (San Diego, California, USA)

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 4 July 2008




This paper seeks to evaluate the potential of heat exchanged aeroengines for future Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), helicopter, and aircraft propulsion, with emphasis placed on reduced emissions, lower fuel burn, and less noise.


Aeroengine performance analyses were carried out covering a wide range of parameters for more complex thermodynamic cycles. This led to the identification of major component features and the establishing of preconceptual aeroengine layout concepts for various types of recuperated and ICR variants.


Novel aeroengine architectures were identified for heat exchanged turboshaft, turboprop, and turbofan variants covering a wide range of applications. While conceptual in nature, the results of the analyses and design studies generally concluded that heat exchanged engines represent a viable solution to meet demanding defence and commercial aeropropulsion needs in the 2015‐2020 timeframe, but they would require extensive development.

Research limitations/implications

As highlighted in Parts I and II, early development work was focused on the use of recuperation, but this is only practical with compressor pressure ratios up to about 10. For today's aeroengines with pressure ratios up to about 50, improvement in SFC can only be realised by incorporating intercooling and recuperation. The new aeroengine concepts presented are clearly in an embryonic stage, but these should enable gas turbine and heat exchanger specialists to advance the technology by conducting more in‐depth analytical and design studies to establish higher efficiency and “greener” gas turbine aviation propulsion systems.


It is recognised that meeting future environmental and economic requirements will have a profound effect on aeroengine design and operation, and near‐term efforts will be focused on improving conventional simple‐cycle engines. This paper has addressed the longer‐term potential of heat exchanged aeroengines and has discussed novel design concepts. A deployment strategy, aimed at gaining confidence with emphasis placed on assuring engine reliability, has been suggested, with the initial development and flight worthiness test of a small recuperated turboprop engine for UAVs, followed by a larger recuperated turboshaft engine for a military helicopter, and then advancement to a larger and far more complex ICR turbofan engine.



McDonald, C.F., Massardo, A.F., Rodgers, C. and Stone, A. (2008), "Recuperated gas turbine aeroengines. Part III: engine concepts for reduced emissions, lower fuel consumption, and noise abatement", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 80 No. 4, pp. 408-426.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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