To successfully develop the ULTIMATE technologies and configure them onto the ULTIMATE powerplants, it is vital to set up a thermodynamically sound screening process. Based on major loss sources, the project will systematically search the wealth of possible powerplant configurations. ULTIMATE will also define a realistic year 2050 technology baseline to be used by all partners for technology and configuration development.

In order to develop the best propulsion solutions with radically increased efficiency, the ULTIMATE scientific approach attacks all three major loss sources simultaneously. These loss sources organise the following three categories of technologies:

  1. Combustor irreversibilities: attacked by piston and nutating disc topping as well as pulse detonation combustion topping technologies
  2. Core exhaust heat losses: attacked by Rankine bottoming, recuperation bottoming, intercooling, and inter-turbine reheat technologies
  3. Excess kinetic energy in bypass flow: attacked by adaptive inlet & nacelle, fan with variable pitch and/or variable inlet guide vane, axial and circumferentially retractable nacelle technologies

In addition, ULTIMATE develops a number of radical concepts to achieve reductions in nitrogen oxide (NOx) and noise environmental targets.

The following diagram illustrates the scientific work process of the ULTIMATE project which is tailored to efficiently exploit the ULTIMATE technologies and configurations:

ULTIMATE evaluation platform and scenario development

To analyse the ULTIMATE powerplant configurations against the full project goals, an evaluation platform, designated TERA2050 (Techno-economic Environmental Risk Assessment framework adapted for year 2050), will be developed to:

  • support the definition of a year 2050 reference powerplant and aircraft configuration for the intra -European and intercontinental missions
  • support the evaluation of flexible mission capability in terms of cruise altitude, variable speed and climb/descent trajectories
  • allow for analysis that provides a break-down of the emission targets (CO2, NOx, noise) into individual powerplant and airframe goals
  • provide multidisciplinary optimization capabilities including design space exploration, parametric studies, sensitivity studies and trade-off studies
  • support powerplant technology and top-level module requirements to be evaluated to TRL 2
  • support analysing economic & policy models and evolution of regulation

The overall structure of the TERA2050 evaluation platform is presented below.