Boeing Keeps an "Open Mind" on RISE Engine Technology

The RISE engine may reduce fuel burn by as much as 20% and could enter service by the 2030s.



June 17, 2022

DALLAS - Always looking to the future, Boeing is keeping an "open mind" regarding future engine technologies. The comment made this week by the manufacturer is in regard to the RISE engine project, announced last year by CFM International, a collaboration between General Electric and Safran.

"Any tool that helps us improve environmental performance is something worth looking at," Mike Sinnett, Boeing's vice president of product development, told reporters. "The open-rotor of today is something that is very different than 20 years ago. There are things about that engine that are very interesting. And I would not say that we would never put an open-rotor on an airplane."

The RISE engine may reduce fuel burn by as much as 20% and could enter service by the 2030s, possibly as part of Boeing's next clean-sheet design.

Reuters reports that the engine will contain hybrid-electric propulsion and be able to run on 100% sustainable fuel or hydrogen, an energy source favored by Airbus for future concepts.

An image of a prototype of the CFM RISE open rotor engine. Photo: GE
CFM RISE Engine Cutaway. Photo: CMF

Project Launched in June 2021

In June 2021, GE and Safran launched a technology development program that aimed to create a propulsion system that produced 20% lower emissions - the CFM RISE (Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engines) program. The signed documents show that the two firms agree to work together through 2050 to "lead the way for more sustainable aviation in line with the industry’s commitment to halve CO2 emissions" by that year.

“Together, through the RISE technology demonstration program, we are reinventing the future of flight, bringing an advanced suite of revolutionary technologies to market that will take the next generation of single-aisle aircraft to a new level of fuel efficiency and reduced emissions," said John Slattery, President and CEO of GE Aviation. "We fully embrace the sustainability imperative. As we have always done in the past, we will deliver for the future.”

According to the GE website, "central to the program is state-of-the-art propulsive efficiency for the engine, including developing an open fan architecture. This is a key enabler to achieving significantly improved fuel efficiency while delivering the same speed and cabin experience as current single-aisle aircraft. The program will also use the hybrid electric capability to optimize engine efficiency while enabling electrification of many aircraft systems."

The engineering team is developing composite fan blades, heat-resistant metal alloys, ceramic matrix composites (CMCs), hybrid electric capability, and additive manufacturing processes. GE says the RISE program includes more than 300 separate components, modules, and full engine builds. A demonstrator engine is scheduled to begin testing at GE and Safran facilities around the middle of this decade and flight testing soon thereafter.

No New Boeing Soon

Boeing, however, is not likely to begin the development of a new plane any time soon, what with its current certification and manufacturing problems, and a high level of debt.

Per Reuters, earlier this month, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said it would be "at least a couple of years" before digital manufacturing tools were mature enough to support a new aircraft program that would help Boeing close a sales gap against Airbus.

"When that happens, then we design the next airplane," Calhoun said. "Why would I rush?"

A CFM LEAP engine is seen on the assembly line. Photo: CFM

About CFM

CFM began in 1974 as a joint venture between GE and Safran. This partnership was renewed in 2008 for the launch of the LEAP program to develop the engine used on the 737 MAX and some Airbus A320neo planes.

Today, CFM is the world's leading supplier of commercial aircraft engines, with more than 35,000 delivered to more than 600 operators, accumulating more than one billion flight hours.

Featured image: CMF