Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Cut Fuel 20%

by | Sep 27, 2011

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Boeing has delivered its first 787 Dreamliner aircraft, which the company says uses 20 percent less fuel than similarly sized planes.

Boeing describes the Dreamliner, delivered to All-Nippon Airways yesterday, as a super-efficient airplane with unmatched fuel efficiency. The $200m plane arrived three years late, following delays that cost Boeing billions of dollars, the Guardian reported.

Advances in engine technology were the biggest contributor to the 787’s fuel efficiency improvements, Boeing says, with new GE and Rolls-Royce engines representing “nearly a two-generation jump” in technology for this sector of the airplane market.

The design and build process of the 787 added further efficiency improvements, Boeing said. For example, manufacturing a one-piece fuselage section eliminated 1,500 aluminum sheets and 40,000 – 50,000 fasteners.

Composite materials make up 50 percent of the primary structure of the 787 including the fuselage and wing.

Boeing says the Dreamliner is is the first mid-size airplane capable of flying long-range routes and will allow airlines to open new, non-stop routes. It will travel at a similar speed as today’s fastest wide bodies, Mach 0.85, and will offer airlines more cargo revenue capacity, according to the manufacturer.

The 787-8 Dreamliner will carry 210 to 250 passengers on routes of 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles (14,200 to 15,200 km), while the 787-9 Dreamliner will carry 250 – 290 passengers on routes of 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles (14,800 to 15,750 km).

Boeing also promises an improved interior environment, including higher humidity levels.

The 787 program was launched in April 2004 with an order from All-Nippon. Since then, 56 customers from six continents have placed orders for 821 airplanes valued at about $145 billion.

At the Paris Air Show in June, American Airlines announced that it will be the launch customer for Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator Program, in which a Boeing Next-Generation 737-800 aircraft and a twin-aisle airplane will be used to test emerging technologies for cutting fuel consumption and carbon emissions. Also at the show, several airlines signed memoranda of understanding to buy Airbus A320neo aircraft, which Airbus ays provides a 15 percent fuel-burn reduction.

Boeing’s revenue-adjusted energy use, CO2 emissions and water intake all rose last year compared to 2009, but were down significantly on 2002, according to the company’s 2011 Environment Report.

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