GE initiates ups engine reclamation work
GE Aviation and the US military are working to increase the amount of military equipment being recycled and/or reused under its Military Engine Reclamation Program, the company announced on 12 June.
GE Aviation has worked with the US government since 2009 to accommodate the environmentally controlled teardown of hardware and recovery of strategic alloys in exchange for credits on future engine/parts purchases.
The programme allows US Navy and Air Force customers to garner financial value from retiring GE products in their fleets, including F404, F414, TF39, TF34, T700, F110, F101 and F118 engine parts. Customers receive an exchange-allowance credit in return for the environmentally controlled teardown of graded alloy material including platinum, rhenium and gold that is extracted from their decommissioned hardware. These credits are then used toward the purchase of GE engines, modules or parts.
To date 2.3 million lbs of retired hardware has been recycled/reused under the programme, generating $3.5 million for NAVAIR and nearly $1.3 million for the air force. The average amount of material reclaimed each month is between 80,000-90,000 lbs and GE Aviation is now aggressively working to increase both the amount and valuation of material processed under new initiatives to recover precious metals and specific alloy constituents during the reclamation process.
The process sees the strategic, environmentally conscious teardown of the powerplants, including a meltdown process to extract valuable alloy materials such as rhenium, platinum, nickel, cobalt and even gold.
Antonio Miguelez, Director of Propulsion and Power Engineering at Naval Air Systems Command, said: ‘The Engine Reclamation Program initiated by Naval Air Systems Command and GE Aviation is an exchange-based cost reduction initiative that required virtually no upfront investment, and delivered a near immediate payoff.
‘Beyond the obvious benefit of life cycle cost savings for naval aviation enterprise programmes, other realised benefits include reduction to material sourcing risk of strategic metals, much lower workload demand than conventional material disposal processes, and the environmental advantages that come from recycling.’
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