Smarter, Cleaner, Greener: Our Sustainability Strategy for Cleaner Skies

April 22, 2022


Each year, billions of people from practically every nation come together on April 22 to recognize Earth Day. This day is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of protecting and improving our environment, and to identify ways we can take action, individually and collectively, in our own communities.

Last year, Pratt & Whitney and other leading aerospace industry companies joined the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) in committing to the goal of net zero emissions for aviation by 2050. Later this year, the International Council of Aviation Organizations (ICAO) will convene its members at a general assembly and consider net zero as a new long-term goal.

The challenge that climate change presents to the world is also an opportunity for the global aviation and aerospace industry to make change through new technology – and to lead by example. The industry is meeting that challenge and seizing that opportunity by pledging to achieve net zero CO2 emissions in aviation by 2050.

Pratt & Whitney supports this ambitious carbon emissions goal. We have implemented a strategic framework of three core elements that will make Pratt & Whitney the leader in sustainable propulsion technologies, both today and into the future.

Our three core elements are:
Smarter technology – Innovative propulsion systems that push the boundaries of fuel efficiency are at the heart of Pratt & Whitney’s sustainability efforts. We’ve already made multiple revolutionary advancements in aircraft engine efficiency, most recently with the Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engine, which increased fuel efficiency by 16-20% over prior generation engines. Since the GTF entered into service in 2016, it has helped single-aisle aircraft operators save 600 million gallons of fuel and avoid 6 million metric tonnes of CO2 emissions.

We continually improve engine efficiency, as evidenced by the recently launched PW127XT-M engine and the GTF Advantage engine, which achieves an additional 1% in fuel savings. These engines continue the company’s legacy of increasing fuel efficiency and lowering CO2 emissions in every new generation of propulsion system we introduce.

Hybrid-electric propulsion systems, even more efficient turbines, and advanced materials for engine components play a critical role in improving engine efficiency. We are developing a regional aircraft scale hybrid-electric flight demonstrator to target a 30% reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions, with plans to eventually apply this technology to larger aircraft. And Pratt & Whitney is partnering with NASA on ceramic matrix composites (CMC) engine core technologies that will further reduce weight and improve thermal efficiency. We recently opened a new CMC research and development facility in Carlsbad, Calif., that focuses solely on the engineering, development and low-rate production of next-generation CMCs that will withstand higher temperatures.

Cleaner fuel – Reducing the amount of fossil fuels that our propulsion systems use and increasing their fuel efficiency are critical to making net zero aviation a reality. SAFs already provide a solution, but we need massive events from government and industry working together to scale up supply

Pratt & Whitney continues to collaborate with industry organizations like CAAFI and ASTM International to advance SAF-related standards and technologies. We recently completed successful testing of 100% SAF in our GTF Advantage engine and are partnering with Air bp to carry out further testing of SAF blends.

Beyond SAF, we’re developing technologies to harness the potential of zero-emissions flight with hydrogen fuel. We’re excited to have been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program to develop propulsion technology optimized to take full advantage of the cryogenic properties of liquid hydrogen fuel that could be up to 35% more efficient and produce 80% less NOx than today’s most efficient single aisle aircraft.

Greener business – While it’s important to build better, smarter, more environmentally friendly propulsion systems for our customers, it’s essential that we also get our own house in order. This is why Pratt & Whitney is improving our operations and working to reduce the environmental impact of our factories and facilities.

Pratt & Whitney works to establish and meet aggressive Environmental, Health & Safety (EH&S) goals each year. These goals provide the company with clear targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, and waste, and they give us clear metrics to measure our progress. Since 2006, we have reduced annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2.9 million metric tons of CO2 emissions and we increased waste recycling while reducing annual water consumption.

Our commitment to operating cleaner, more sustainable facilities led us to invest in a new 1.2 million square-foot turbine airfoil production facility in Asheville, N.C., that was built from the ground up to reduce the unnecessary travel of parts and decrease the environmental impact of our manufacturing process.

On this Earth Day, we reflect on the challenge that global climate change presents for every person, government, and corporation on Earth. But we also look at this challenge for what it really is – an opportunity to innovate, lead by example and make positive change.

As the leading manufacturer of propulsion systems for the aviation industry, Pratt & Whitney has a large stake and role to play in protecting our planet. By embracing an innovative, strategic framework for sustainability focused on smarter engines and technologies, cleaner fuels, and greener business and operations, we are confident that we can meet our goal of achieving net-zero emissions for aviation by 2050. And we hope our example will encourage others in the aviation and aerospace industries to do the same.

Source : Pratt & Whitney, A Raytheon Technologies Company

Smarter, Cleaner, Greener: Our Sustainability Strategy for Cleaner Skies