Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Commercial Airline Engine Washing Saves Jet Fuel

United Technologies Corporation (a unit of Pratt & Whitney) is washing the engines of planes at about 50 airlines because of the maintenance and gas savings benefits. The engine washing system is called EcoPower and now includes about 5,000 such cleanings a year. It is estimated that scrubbing off the caked on grime can reduce fuel consumption by 1.2%. It is also estimated that if all engine in the world were washed the global airline industry could save $1 billion a year in fuel costs and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 3.2 billion pounds.

The washings can lead airlines to avoid costly overhauls for as long as 18 months. Washings take about 90 minutes and cost between $3,000 and $5,000 depending on the size of the engines. During thousands of hours of operation, gunk in the air builds up an oily crust (mixture of soot, dirt, salt, lead and arsenic) that compress intake air before it enters the combustion chamber. EcoPower uses a proprietary system of nozzles to spray atomized water directly into the core of the engine instead of using harsh chemicals and high pressure. (The Wall Street Journal 6/11/08)

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