Innovation and research are a top priority at the Lufthansa Group. The latest example is a revolutionary method for cleaning vacuum waste line systems that was developed by technicians at Austrian Technik, the aircraft maintenance arm of Austrian Airlines, and is now also being tested by Lufthansa Technik. The innovative system is not only kind to the environment but also saves time and money. For this invention, the MRO division of Austrian Airlines has now been awarded the Environmental Prize of the City of Vienna.
Waliclean, as the new cleaning system is called, is based on a simple principle: a solution of regular citric acid and warm water is circulated through the aircraft’s waste line system by means of regulated negative pressure. Once the system has been successfully cleaned, it is rinsed with clear water and emptied. The rinse water can be disposed of easily via the sewage system. In the past, three different maintenance methods had to be employed several times a year to keep the waste line system functioning, and the acid bath used had to be specially disposed of. Thanks to Waliclean, Austrian Airlines, which has been using the method since 2012, will save about 7,165 litres of chemicals per year. Today, 2,100 kg of environmentally compatible citric acid is used instead of chemicals. This conserves the environment, protects staff and significantly improves storage, transport and disposal requirements.
The weight saving after using Waliclean is about 75 kg in the case of an Austrian Airlines Boeing 777, which amounts to an annual saving of 44 tonnes of kerosene per aircraft. That is equivalent to about 138 tonnes of CO2. Using the new cleansing method will also generate substantial financial savings, as Austrian Airlines will be able to reduce the man-hours required by more than 4,000 per year.
Lufthansa Technik aims to put the Waliclean system into operation this summer. The necessary preparations are already underway at Lufthansa Technik’s Frankfurt base