A new life

As part of our efforts to reduce aviation’s environmental impact through the lifecycle of airplanes, the ecoDemonstrator 757 is now in the initial stages of being dismantled and recycled in an environmentally responsible way.

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The ecoDemonstrator Program team celebrates the successful 757 flight tests.

When the airplane wrapped up its flight testing earlier this month, it made one last flight to Moses Lake, Wash. That’s where it will be recycled—giving us a chance to explore more efficient recycling techniques and to get the most value from the airplane’s materials and parts.

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This air to air photo by Boeing’s John D. Parker was taken during flight test. It shows the livery of our customer and ecoDemonstrator 757 partner TUI Group.

Besides removing usable spare parts, we are looking at ways to extract and re-use airplane-grade aluminum to fabricate new airplane parts.

The 757 has already conducted a different recycling project. We 3D-printed an aisle stand in the flight deck using excess carbon fiber from 787 production, an example of how we want to repurpose this high-value material and reduce factory waste.

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In the early phase of the 757’s recycling, useable parts are removed. The engines and the leading edge of the left wing have been removed.

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Rows of seats are carted away.

Before coming to Moses Lake for recycling, this airplane made about 100 flights over several months as our team tested more than 15 technologies. With NASA, the ecoDemonstrator 757 tested bug-phobic coatings on the right wing and Active Flow Control on the vertical tail.

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Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, captures bugs near Shreveport Regional Airport in Louisiana as a team from Boeing prepares the 757 ecoDemonstrator for “bug phobic” testing. John Parker photo.

Boeing also tested a Krueger shield to reduce insect contamination on the left wing’s leading edge and electronic windows powered by solar and thermal energy. We also flew with a biofuel blend of US-made green diesel.

Next up, Boeing and Embraer plan to conduct ecoDemonstrator tests with an Embraer airplane in 2016. We look forward to continuing this successful program with environmental benefits far into the future.

Comments (3)

James Baloun (Sunnyvale, California, USA):

Maybe some of the ecoDemonstator parts can be recycled by being sold through the Boeing Store Custom Hangar?

Dr Dorothy (USA):

Again, congratulations to all the ecoDemonstrator teams and Boeing ecoDemonstrator 757 !

Norman Garza (Long Beach, CA):

Not unexpected to see a 757 go to the breakers torch these days but even in it's last legs the 757 can still lead in technological development and fuel economy.

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