January 15, 2024

Six Institutes join forces to improve the Wet Engine concept

Rolls-Royce M250 gas turbine - inlet air calming chamber
The stabilisation chamber in front of the inlet of the Rolls-Royce M250 gas turbine makes it possible to determine the air mass flow precisely.

There are many projects that are working flat out to make aviation more sustainable. One of the most promising is MTU Aero Engines' WET concept (WET for Water-Enhanced Turbofan). Six DLR institutes are currently developing this concept further in the LuFo VI-2 DINA2030plus project. It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK).

In this engine concept, the residual heat from the exhaust gas of aircraft gas turbines is used to vaporise water and inject it back into the combustion chamber. This should not only increase the efficiency of the engine, but also reduce CO2 and NOx emissions and the formation of contrails. The aim is to minimise the climate impact of flying and also the non-CO2 effects.

Six DLR institutes are contributing their combined expertise to the LuFo VI-2 DINA2030plus project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK): The DLR Institute of Combustion Technology will gradually develop a demonstrator for the WET concept based on a retrofitted helicopter engine. The DLR Institute of Propulsion Technology will simulate and evaluate the entire target system, especially for operation with hydrogen, and experimentally investigate the concept for the steam generator. Researchers at the DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics will calculate the overall climate impact of a future aircraft with WET technology and evaluate how high the potential savings are compared to conventional aircraft gas turbines.

The DLR Institute of Air Transport is developing a 3D emissions register to map the use of engines with WET technology at fleet level. The DLR Institute of Materials Research is analysing the service life of the materials, among other things. In parallel, the DLR Institute of Vehicle Concepts is analysing the advantages that a combination with a free-piston composite cycle engine concept (CCE) could bring.


Anja Tröster

Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt
Institut für Verbrennungstechnik
Pfaffenwaldring 38-40, 70569 Stuttgart
Tel: +4971168628648