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While Juniper’s system provided a cleaner engine, it still had the problem of effluent runoff and disposal. The company’s solution was to place a large, roll-out containment mat under the engine to capture all of the wastewater, which was then vacuumed up and deposited in a holding tank for proper disposal or filtering for reuse. It provided cost-effective and rather simple solution to a long-standing problem.

But, as you would expect, as the rest of the industry woke up to the need to find a cost-effective and environmentally friendly ways to clean turbofan engines other methods and technologies soon became available.

Closed-loop Technology “In 2004, we saw a real need for customers to have a fast, efficient and environmentally friendly way to wash their engines on wing,” explained Bill Welch, general manager of Pratt & Whitney’s EcoPower Engine Wash System. “It was a big problem. The environmental control laws really prohibited them from doing washes on site. We looked to design a system that would allow engine washes not only at the airport, but at the actual gate—that would eliminate the need and cost of moving the aircraft.” “The system we came up with is a closed-loop system. With our EcoPower Engine Wash technology, we can clean the engine on-wing and capture all of the waste water,” he said. “After collection, we then filter that water to use it all over again or dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way.”

Of course, in aviation, good news or good ideas travel fast and it wasn’t long before other engine OEM’s, as well as a number of major MRO’s had developed their own closed loop engine wash systems. “With a closed loop system there is no opportunity for water to spray outside of the system,” Jeff Wiseman, marketing manager for GE’s ClearCore engine washing system said. “We have an apron that connects under the engine and goes around the rear to capture all of the water we use.” “We take that water and run it through

a three-stage filtration system as well as a deionization tank,” he said. “We then store that water for reuse on another engine wash.” “We have 100-percent water containment—nothing hits the ground. It’s totally self contained and environmentally friendly. That’s huge these days,” explained John Landherr, president, Certified Aviation Services, the U.S. partner for Lufthansa Technik’s Cyclean Engine Wash. “Because we run the engines dry [no fuel] during the

The KLM and Air France system captures the wastewater as well as the resulting vapors from the process.

John Landherr with CAS says cleaning deep into the core and compressor section is key to get the most fuel savings and EGT margin improvement.

cleaning process, it is so clean we can do the washes right at the gate—even at Los Angeles World Airport in California. As you can imagine, they have some of the most restrictive environmental rules in the world.” While it’s quite an accomplishment to be able to do engine washes right at the gate, a bigger benefit, at least to airlines operating in harsh climates, is the ability to do the work inside the maintenance hangar. The closed loop engine wash system developed by KLM and Air France not only captures all of the wastewater, it also collects all of the resulting vapors released during the cleaning process. “The vapors are collected and filtered

50 Aviation Maintenance | | June / July 2012

through our vapor collector,” stated Hans Veldkamp, director security affairs, infrastructure and CSR for KLM Engineering and Maintenance. “The air emitted by the engine and collected by the vapor collector is actually cleaner tan the ambient air in the hangar.”

Water, water everywhere… Of course one of the big keys to being able to do environmentally friendly engine washing has been the near elimination of detergents and chemical solvents. Today’s engine washes are accomplished using pretty much pure ‘ol H2O. “There are a lot of people who didn’t

AFI KLM E&M - Patrick Delapierre

Chart Courtesy of Certified Aviation Services

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