A new company is aiming to build the next generation of aircraft engines in China.
The Aero Engine Corporation of China (AECC) is based in Beijing. According to CNN News, it already has 96,000 staff and several billion yuan of funding available.
At present, the aircraft engine market is dominated by Western companies. The three biggest companies are General Electric and Pratt and Whitney of the USA, and Rolls Royce of the UK.
Engines made outside the USA and Europe account for just a fraction of the market. Of these, a large percentage are made in Russia using dated designs.
This means that China's fast-growing commercial aviation sector is currently reliant on imported power-plants. The Chinese military uses only Russian engines, which can be extremely inefficient and produce significantly more harmful emissions than their Western equivalents.
AECC aims to change that. Russia Today quotes Liu Tingyi, President of the Chinese Aeronautical Establishment, as saying:
“We will try to find a path along which we can make independent innovation in conducting fundamental research, making breakthroughs in key technology and producing strategic aircraft engines.”
The breakthroughs he's referring to could include geared turbofans. These are a more efficient aircraft engine, in which a gearbox allows different parts of the engine to work at different speeds from each other.
Mastering this technology could allow AECC to earn a slice of China's predicted 2 trillion yuan spend on engines over the next 20 years, as well as winning orders from overseas companies.