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GE and Etihad launch innovative foam wash jet engine cleaning system

GE foam wash

GE Aviation and Etihad Airways have partnered to launch a “ground-breaking” foam wash jet engine cleaning system that aims to reduce CO2 emissions.

The companies said GE’s 360 Foam Wash would optimise performance of Etihad’s GE90 and GEnx-1B engines on its 777 and 787 fleets.

GE has worked with Etihad as a launch partner for the Etihad ‘Greenliner’ programme to innovate, develop and test aviation decarbonisation technologies. GE has awarded Etihad technical licenses to perform engine washes with the patented system.

360 Foam Wash is an alternative to the water wash method, GE said, and restores engine performance leading to reductions in fuel consumption. The process involves injecting a specially-formulated, proprietary solution that removes dust and dirt particles in the engine. The system is self-contained, allowing it to be used inside maintenance hangars or outdoors.

“GE Aviation shares a commitment to develop innovative solutions in aircraft engine maintenance with the team at Etihad Airways,” said GE Aviation’s after market strategic solutions vice president and general manager Jean Lydon-Rodgers.

“We are learning more about how our engines operate and how they respond in hot and harsh environments than ever before, and our longstanding relationship with Etihad has been integral to that process. The research that has gone into producing GE’s 360 Foam Wash is a shining example of that.”

During technology trials with its GE90 and GEnx engines, the foam wash solution allowed Etihad to improve engine performance by reducing build-up of deposits in the engine, lowering engine exhaust temperatures, and improving engine compressor efficiency, according to the partners. These improvements led to reduced fuel consumption and increased engine time on wing.

Etihad Airways senior vice president technical Paul Kear commented: “Our partnership with GE through the Etihad Greenliner programme is a prime example of industry collaboration that will have a significant impact on Etihad’s efficiencies and provide a case study for the broader industry.

“Through 2021 alone, we expect to realise significant fuel savings and a reduction of more than 7,000 metric tonnes of CO2 for the combined GEnx-1B and GE90 engine fleets, compared to water wash methods. This is just one example of how Etihad and GE can work together to enhance fuel efficiency of the engines that power the backbone of our fleet.

“Etihad’s long-term commitment to net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 can only be achieved by working with partners across the industry to harness innovation and develop new technologies that will provide real, incremental benefits with a measurable impact on emissions. As we look towards the rest of 2021, there is potential to expand the scope of collaboration for our shared sustainability objectives.”

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