Lufthansa Technik (LHT) has developed a new engine wash procedure that will allow waterless washing of aircraft engines in any type of weather. Cyclean Dry Ice, which uses a mobile blasting system to shoot tiny dry ice pellets into an aircraft engine to dislodge dirt, can wash engines even in below-freezing weather.
The Cyclean Dry Ice system is mounted on a height-adjustable scissor lift platform with wheels that can be driven in any desired direction. LHT says the system is able to quickly and thoroughly clean all engine types, regardless of size or height, without the need to fasten equipment to the engine. The dry ice pellets—which LHT says are a standard industry solution normally available near freight handling areas—do not leave residue since they transition completely to a gaseous state, so there is no need to perform a run-up after an engine has been washed.
According to LHT, Cyclean Dry Ice reduces the engine cleaning process to 30 minutes compared to conventional engine washes, which will result in quicker turnaround times at the gate. The company says the system also provides environmental benefits—such as water savings and reduced emissions—since the carbon dioxide (CO2) used by the system is a byproduct of the oil refinery and fertilizer industries, so no additional CO2 needs to be generated.
“With this new procedure, LHT will strengthen its leading market position and be the first MRO provider to offer engine washes with dry ice on the market,” says Dirk Deja, project manager at LHT. “We are thus making another significant contribution to reducing fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions in civil aviation by several hundred thousand tons per year.”
Research and development on Cyclean Dry Ice began in 2014. Once the testing and prototype phase was successfully completed, LHT filed several patent applications so Cyclean Dry Ice could be developed into a commercial product. LHT says the new system will not replace the current water-based Cyclean engine wash product—which has been in use since 2007—but will instead serve as a supplemental product offering. Customers will be able to choose which product better fits their needs since they each provide unique benefits, according to LHT.
Cyclean Dry Ice will go on the market in 2019 and be offered to customers on either a long-term lease basis or as a full service performed by LHT at specific service stations worldwide (which will be determined at a later date). LHT says it has received interest from existing customers as well as airlines that do not already use Cyclean.