Win-Win Formula for Sustainability: Reducing Emissions, Improving Performance
Find out how Pratt & Whitney Canada is integrating sustainability into every part of its business and propelling the aerospace industry toward a more sustainable future.
After much R&D, consultation and focused resolve, P&WC has devised a plan to become the best aerospace company FOR the world and a route to get there by 2028.
As a pioneer in sustainability, P&WC has set ambitious goals for its centennial. The company wants to reduce in-service fleet emissions, operate zero-waste, carbon-neutral sites and much more.
How will this happen? Employees have already started incorporating sustainable practices into many aspects of the business and developed initiatives to encourage suppliers to follow suit.
INTEGRATING SUSTAINABILITY INTO EVERY STEP
P&WC strives to incorporate practices that minimize impacts on the environment while reducing costs across all of its processes. From the construction of its facilities to its methodology for testing engines to maintenance programs, sustainability is always top of mind.
As an engine manufacturer, we provide the power that connects people. It is at the heart of what we do as a company to not only think about how our activities impact the environment, but also to be responsible for our products from cradle to grave.
P&WC takes this responsibility seriously, and it serves as the foundation for how it builds facilities, like the LEED Gold-certified test and assembly Mirabel Aerospace Centre, north of Montreal. The property was constructed using low-emitting construction materials (VOCs), which improves indoor-air quality. It also incorporates energy-efficient features, like a passive solar wall, and many other impressive features.
The use of innovative processes and technologies for engine testing allows P&WC to further reduce its environmental footprint. For instance, the company developed an approach to optimize the sequence of engine testing to reduce the number of cycles required to take data points. P&WC also introduced throttle automation to its testing procedures, a technology that allows the throttle to be controlled by a computer to eliminate inefficiencies. Such measures, among others, save over 110,000 litres of fuel each year.
When it comes to maintenance, P&WC offers customers access to the eco-friendly EcoPower Engine Wash system. The system, which was developed as a joint venture between VT Systems and Pratt & Whitney, is a closed-loop process that does not require detergents. The wash cycle restores degraded engine performance, resulting in up to 30°C cooler exhaust gas temperatures and an impressive 1.8% reduction in thrust-specific fuel consumption. EcoPower washes are available for many of P&WC’s engines, such as the PW125B, the PW206B, the PW308C and the PW307A. On the new PurePower PW800, P&WC took the initiative to maximize in-service fuel efficiency by including engine washes in its’ pay-per-hour Eagle ServiceTM Plan (ESP®) maintenance program.
A FORCE FOR POSITIVE CHANGE
P&WC knows that sustainability is a team effort and is playing an active role in encouraging the industry to adopt practices that reduce environmental impacts. One of the company’s priorities is showing its appreciation for suppliers and partners who are embracing sustainability. In 2013, P&WC developed the annual Pratt & Whitney Supplier Sustainability Award to recognize suppliers for minimizing their impact on the environment while improving the efficiency of their operations.
“The award recognizes suppliers and partners that have demonstrably shown that they are addressing the root causes of their unsustainability,” elaborates Robert Cadieux, Fellow, and Environmental & Sustainable Development Manager, P&WC. “It is important for us to recognize suppliers for not only meeting their quality expectations but also working on their sustainability.”
One of P&WC’s key goals is to have a positive influence on the industry. We want others to be engaged and, hopefully, inspired by what we do. For us, that is how we will go beyond and become a restorative organization.
PROPELLING THE INDUSTRY FORWARD
On top of encouraging our suppliers to innovate, P&WC is constantly looking for ways to improve its practices.
P&WC already prioritizes component repair over replacement whenever it is possible to do so without impacting safety and reliability. Through internal life-cycle analyses, P&WC knows that materials are the most energy-intensive input to production and it is working to make service decisions that reflect that understanding.
Currently, P&WC is exploring how it can structure its business to more comprehensively address end-of-life management through concepts such as Circular Economy and Extended Producer Responsibility.
“One path we have looked at is the model of engine ownership throughout the full life-cycle, keeping those materials and alloys in our supply chain, where we could then disassemble an engine at the end of its useful life and reintegrate those expensive and energy-intensive metals into the next part or the next engine,” explains Robert.
Existing Eagle Service Plans already take a step in this direction by aligning P&WC’s business model with maximizing resource efficiency in maintenance, repairs, and overhauls. These services are a natural gateway to product stewardship, laying the groundwork for closing material loops by promoting cost-effective material recovery and separation.
We want to minimize the amount of new material required. There is an impact associated with every kilogram of titanium or nickel that goes into a part or engine
“We have a responsibility to ensure that we impose the smallest possible footprint on the planet to keep our engines flying. Not to mention that it makes good business sense in the context of future pressures, such as resource scarcity, climate change, and social pressures,” adds Russell.
And these are only a few of the many important initiatives P&WC is implementing on its journey to becoming not only the best aerospace company IN the world, but the best aerospace company FOR the world.
To learn about other initiatives, read about aircraft engines built to last.