The new recycling program by the U.S. Navy in collaboration with GE Aviation is sure to do wonders for the environment. The duo have initiated a program under which rhenium-bearing aircraft engine components will be recovered from out-of-service F404 and F414 engines, after which the precious metal would be used for the manufacturing of new engine parts. The project known as the GE/Navy Reclamation Program aims at reducing raw-material requirements, lowering dependency on foreign sources of rhenium and providing financial “credits” the Navy can apply to future engines and hardware.
As part of a comprehensive Department of Defense effort to promote key material reclamation throughout the system, the program was formalized last June, after which it was included in the existing GE-Navy F414 multi-year contract. Rhenium, a major component in turbine blades and stators, is tracked and reclaimed from rhenium-rich parts that have reached the end of their contracted life cycle. Already thousands of pounds of rhenium-based components have been shipped from the Fleet Readiness Center South East Jacksonville, Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.