GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Boom Supersonic, which has been in search of a partner to develop the carbon-neutral engine for the Overture transport jet it plans to build in Greensboro, must be getting close to a deal.
The company announced a press conference for Tuesday at Piedmont Triad International Airport for what it called “Boom’s upcoming Overture engine program announcement.”
To catch you up, Boom in January announced plans to build the manufacturing facility for its supersonic passenger jet at PTI. State and local governments ponied up about $130 million in incentives.
Boom is investing $500 million to build Overture and will hire 1,761 employees during the next five years. The average minimum annual salary would be $68,000.
The company has a 40-year lease – but hasn’t broken ground – on 61 acres just north and east of the main terminal on the south side of I-73 and has an option on a second parcel.
American Airlines in August joined United Airlines, the United States Air Force and Grumman Northrup as customers for Boom, which plans to have its first jets in the air by 2029. But the engine element has been a sticking point.
Boom promises its jets will fly using carbon net-zero fuel, meaning that they would use no petroleum-based jet fuel and be environmentally friendly.
Rolls-Royce – yes, the same name as the venerable British auto manufacturer but separate – was the engine developer until pulling out of the program in September. Boom had been in discussions with a variety of potential partners.
Jon Ostrower, editor of The Air Current, an industry watchdog, said on his Twitter feed that the new partner was not any of what he called “the big four” engine manufacturers: “GE, Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney or Safran.” He did not speculate or elaborate.
The Overture is designed to cruise at 60,000 feet and reach a speed of Mach 1.7, which is roughly 1304.36 miles per hour. That’s slightly slower than the now-retired Concorde, which reached 1,350 miles, but it’s sufficient to get passengers from New York to London in 3.5 hours, the company says.
Boom suggests that its jet will fly more than 500 routes to destinations around the world, with a range of 4,888 miles. Boom also claims to be the only airplane manufacturer to commit to a carbon-neutral, sustainable program, flying 100% on “sustainable aviation fuel,” which the U.S. Department of Energy describes as being made from “renewable biomass and waste resources.” Those could be corn or algae or wood products or similar materials.
Another clean-energy announcement
Coincidentally the U.S. Department of Energy plans to announce Tuesday that scientists have been able for the first time to produce “a fusion reaction that creates a net energy gain,” The Washington Post reported, which is seen as a significant milestone in an effort to provide clean energy.
The Post says the breakthrough is “a major milestone in the decades-long, multibillion-dollar quest to develop a technology that provides unlimited, cheap, clean power.”
This is what scientists call the “holy grail” of carbon-free power “that scientists have been chasing since the 1950s,” the Post said.
The solution discovered at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California employed lasers to split atoms and drive the development of power. But the Post said this development could is “maybe decades” to reach public use.