Clean through and through

Cyclean® Engine Wash lowers costs and reduces environmental impact

During flight, dirt and grime accumulate in jet engines, particularly on the fan and compressor blades, consisting of insects and aerosols such as sand, dust, pollen, and salt from layers of air close to the ground, entering the engine with the air intake. As a result, the engines are less thermally efficient in operation and use more kerosene for the same level of performance. In 2007, in order to regularly free the engines from these contaminants, Lufthansa Technik developed Cyclean® Engine Wash, a water-based process for cleaning jet engines. 

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    Cyclean® Engine Wash: a water-based process for cleaning jet engines
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    To date, Cyclean® Engine Wash has been carried out more than 40,000 times.
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    A movable 360-degree cleaning container with two water nozzles is fitted to the engine head.
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    Water is fed into a mobile tank and disposed of appropriately.
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    Cyclean® Engine Wash is the only established engine cleaning process in the world that can even be carried out directly at the gate.

In order to clean the engines during ground time, a movable 360-degree cleaning container with two water nozzles is fitted to the engine head. Water, heated to 70 degrees Celsius, is then injected in the engine at a pressure of 65 bars. The direct penetration into the engine gas flow facilitates optimal cleaning both of the blades and of the low and high-pressure compressors. A flexible sheet underneath the engine catches all contaminated water as it leaves the engine; this water is fed into a mobile tank and disposed of appropriately.

Regular cleaning means that the engines are more thermally efficient in operation and use, on average, up to one percent less kerosene for the same level of performance. Customers, primarily airline operators, thereby save not only kerosene costs but also long-term maintenance costs for the engines of their fleet. Furthermore, the significantly lower carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions reduce the environmental impact of engine operation. The fitting of the cleaning container is simple and quick, so that the entire Cyclean® process takes under an hour.

The Cyclean® Engine Wash was originally developed for the Lufthansa Group in 2007, but it was offered to other customers just one year later. Lufthansa Technik opened the first Cyclean® Service Station in Ontario, California (USA) in 2009. The station network has been continually expanded since. Since summer 2014, the more than 45 airline customers using the engine wash service can now have their engines cleaned at three airports in the United Arab Emirates (Dubai International, Dubai World Central, and Sharjah), and since January 2017, the service has also been available at Melbourne International Airport in Australia. To date, Cyclean® Engine Wash has been carried out more than 80,000 times. It is the only established engine cleaning process in the world that can even be carried out directly at the gate. Lufthansa Technik offers Cyclean® for all current engine models from the major manufacturers General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, CFMI, and IAE.

Due to the danger of freezing, engine cleaning using pure water is only possible at temperatures in excess of five degrees Celsius. Lufthansa Technik therefore enhanced the product for the 2014/2015 winter and now offers water-based glycol cleaning using new equipment. This allows for engine cleaning to be carried out at temperatures as low as minus 10 degrees Celsius. Lufthansa Technik is also conducting a research project, due for completion in 2017, testing the injection of CO2 dry ice pellets and other substances for cleaning engines.