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Propulsion-airframe Integration

3-4

Technology Description

Moving the engines closer to the fuselage would reduce the aerodynamic drag generated by conventional nacelles under the wings. Moreover, the turbulent airflow generated by the fuselage results in drag, and moving the engines to the back of the plane (by the fuselage) would allow for ''boundary layer ingestion'', i.e. the turbulent air flows into the engine, as opposed to around the aircraft, which reduces overall drag and enhances energy efficiency.
In the long term, blended wing body designs are well-adapted to propulsion-airframe integration. In association with distributed propulsion (i.e. propulsive force being generated by multiple small engines/fans), this would pave the way for further energy consumption reductions. Among the challenges of this solution are the difficulties in introducing disruptive designs, safety (from the engines being close to each other and to the cabin), trim control, core engine and fan ability to intake turbulent air, and integration of large diameter engines (see UHBR engines).

Relevance for Net Zero

Additional technology to help achieve efficiency improvement.

Key Countries

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