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SPECIAL REPORT

Innovations in Electronic Sensor Technology for Monitoring Aviation Fuel Quality Would You Like to Be Ahead Your Competitors? Counting the Cost: Contaminated Fuel Sensor Technology: A New Electric Future Fuel Quality: Time for an Upgrade The Future of Fuel Filtration

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media


INNOVATIONS IN ELECTRONIC SENSOR TECHNOLOGY FOR MONITORING AVIATION FUEL QUALITY

SPECIAL REPORT

Innovations in Electronic Sensor Technology for Monitoring Aviation Fuel Quality Would You Like to Be Ahead Your Competitors? Counting the Cost: Contaminated Fuel

Contents

Sensor Technology: A New Electric Future Fuel Quality: Time for an Upgrade The Future of Fuel Filtration

Foreword

2

Tom Cropper, Editor

Would You Like to Be Ahead Your Competitors?

3

FAUDI Aviation GmbH

A Wealth of Experience Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media

Published by Global Business Media Global Business Media Limited 62 The Street Ashtead Surrey KT21 1AT United Kingdom

AFGUARD® – Fuel Quality Control Sensor SLUGGUARD® Sensor – Filter Inlet Water Slug Protection DRAINGUARD®-sump – Automated Water Sump Drainage DPGUARD® Corrected Differential Pressure Calculation

Counting the Cost: Contaminated Fuel

7

Switchboard: +44 (0)1737 850 939 Fax: +44 (0)1737 851 952 Email: info@globalbusinessmedia.org Website: www.globalbusinessmedia.org

Tom Cropper, Editor

Publisher Tom Cropper

A Financial Problem

Business Development Director Marie-Anne Brooks

Sensor Technology: A New Electric Future 9

Editor Tom Cropper Senior Project Manager Steve Banks Advertising Executives Michael McCarthy Abigail Coombes Production Manager Paul Davies For further information visit: www.globalbusinessmedia.org The opinions and views expressed in the editorial content in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views of any organisation with which they may be associated. Material in advertisements and promotional features may be considered to represent the views of the advertisers and promoters. The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily express the views of the Publishers or the Editor. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, neither the Publishers nor the Editor are responsible for such opinions and views or for any inaccuracies in the articles.

A Major Problem Prevention and Cure

Jo Roth, Staff Writer

Stuck in the Past Manual Tests Real-Time Monitoring

Fuel Quality: Time for an Upgrade

11

James Butler, Staff Writer

What to Consider Growing Demand Pressure from Above Surviving Harsh Conditions

The Future of Fuel Filtration

13

Tom Cropper, Editor

Time to Change Filtrating Technologies Upgrading Sensors Sustainable Fuels

References 15 © 2017. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. Full details are available from the Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. WWW.AIRPORTTECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM | 1


INNOVATIONS IN ELECTRONIC SENSOR TECHNOLOGY FOR MONITORING AVIATION FUEL QUALITY

Foreword T

HE AVIATION industry is moving quickly into

monitoring been in place. On a less dramatic

a new, high-tech future. Unsurprisingly,

scale, impurities in fuel reduce efficiency, increase

then, it’s the grand eye-catching technological

consumption and drive up operating costs.

innovations which tend to reach the headlines.

Jo Roth, then talks about the evolution of fuel testing.

However, sometimes the smallest components,

For all the high-tech products on offer in aviation, many

such as electronic fuel sensors, can have the most

processes are still manual, time-consuming and only

crucial impact.

monitor a small proportion of the fuel. He looks at the

Fuel monitoring is undergoing a period of rapid

new technology and how airlines are moving towards

change. Operators are becoming more aware

electronic sensors which offer a real-time view of the

about the importance of fuel quality and monitoring

sensor landscape.

procedures are improving. With new regulations calling

James Butler will then look at the key factors to

for more advanced sensor and filtration technology,

consider when making an upgrade. Official regulations

the pressure is on to upgrade.

are becoming more demanding, which push airlines

Our opening article comes from FAUDI Aviation GmbH which supplies cutting edge filtration and

into action. Choosing the right supplier will be crucial to the future health of a system.

sensor elements to the aviation industry. They talk

Finally, we’ll look at some of these technologies in

about why there is such a need for change, and how

action and see what the future holds. It may not be

their products improve the monitoring of fuel quality.

the biggest or most glamorous piece of equipment,

We will then look at some of the reasons that airlines

but it’s one of the most important.

should be monitoring the quality of fuel. Contamination is a major issue for the aviation industry. Some high profile incidents have been linked to problems with the fuel – which could have been avoided had adequate

Tom Cropper Editor

Tom Cropper has produced articles and reports on various aspects of global business over the past 15 years. He has also worked as a copywriter for some of the largest corporations in the world, including ING, KPMG and the World Wildlife Fund.

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INNOVATIONS IN ELECTRONIC SENSOR TECHNOLOGY FOR MONITORING AVIATION FUEL QUALITY

Would You Like to Be Ahead Your Competitors? FAUDI Aviation GmbH

A

NEW product has come into the market which will help you to reduce your expenses, man hours and will give you maximum guarantee that fuel offered by you has the best quality. Sounds like a fairy tale but today, thanks to FAUDI Aviation GmbH, it is reality. Perhaps a little-known fact is that aircraft safety largely depends on the cleanliness of fuel, with contaminated aviation fuel being one of the main causes of critical situations. In view of this, an ever-growing number of oil companies who refuel both civil and military aircraft have come to rely on the advanced aviation fuel filtration systems and components offered by FAUDI Aviation GmbH. The long established German enterprise and its product solutions meet all national and international standards, including the latest editions of API, EI and military standards. The strength of FAUDI Aviation can be described as customer-oriented, quality-dedicated with a high level of service and in-depth knowledge of EI, API, IP and or Military Approvals. The safety of aircraft depends upon the cleanliness of its fuel. Uncontaminated aviation fuel is taken for granted. Blocked fuel lines are virtually unknown and have rarely been blamed for crashes. Clean, dry fuel means fuel free from particle and water contamination, having a clear and bright appearance. But during the transport of fuel from the refinery to the aircraft, there are many opportunities for various types of contaminants to enter the fuel system. Tank trucks, barges, tank wagons and pipelines are the most common means of transporting fuel from the refinery to the terminal storage facilities. Then the aircraft is fuelled by refueller truck from airport storage or by hydrant cart from a hydrant system. Each time the fuel is transported or stored, contamination may occur, even if precautionary measures have been taken. The removal of dirt and water from jet fuel supply is a continuous battle up to the point where fuel is burnt in the aircraft engine / turbine. FAUDI Aviation high quality filters are a first line

of defence against dirt and water contamination. “Prevention is better than cure”. There are filter water separators, micro filters and filter monitors to be used on every transfer point from the refinery to the aircraft. Each type of filter has its special tasks to ensure that fuel is free from dirt and undissolved water, which could freeze and block the supply system. They even protect critical parts against dirt, corrosion and the growth of micro-organisms.

A Wealth of Experience With a background of almost 80 years’ experience in the field of aviation fuel filtration, FAUDI Aviation began the 21st century with the implementation of sensors for the aviation industry to secure the very high level of safety and reliability independent of changing conditions in market players and service providers. FAUDI Aviation´s sensor technology offers the possibility to serve filtration equipment with additional layers of safety. The importance of additional safety layers for filtration steps in the aviation industry arise from the fact that common filter water coalescers or monitor filters are more and more faced with unexpected failures such as filter water coalesce disarming or monitor failures due to dissolved salts in water. These effects are unexpected and, for the operators in the field, it is not possible to see them occurring within the vessel or pipework. The only indication that this is happening would be high water transmission readings when using a water detector, or haziness in fuel samples taken downstream. Therefore, as a sensible result, the international aviation fuel supply industry is assessing the use of electronic sensors for the detection of free water in aviation fuel during aircraft refuelling. Such devices enable continuous fuel cleanliness monitoring, and highlight failures in the cleanliness assurance system as part of the comprehensive system to protect fuel quality and fuel cleanliness. This goes hand-in-hand with other aspects of current quality assurance WWW.AIRPORTTECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM | 3


INNOVATIONS IN ELECTRONIC SENSOR TECHNOLOGY FOR MONITORING AVIATION FUEL QUALITY

An ever-growing number of oil companies who refuel both civil and military aircraft have come to rely on the advanced aviation fuel filtration systems and components offered by FAUDI Aviation GmbH

measures and the established filtration and water separation procedures. The additional safety precautions start at the filter vessel inlet with the detection of unexpected bulk water by the use of the SLUGGUARD® sensor to ensure fast shut down of fuel flow in case of unexpected high levels of water. At the filter vessel outlet, it is important to guarantee clean and dry fuel to be delivered which can accurately be observed with the use of the AFGUARD® sensor, which is approved by EI 1598. Sensors according EI 1598 are IFQP recommended. On filter water coalescers, good filter performance goes hand-in-hand with perfect water separation, which requires good housekeeping procedures. The solution is the DRAINGUARD®-sump, which generates the automated drainage of water sumps in filter water separators. Finally, the monitoring and control of corrected differential pressure across the filter elements is the perfect way to observe filter failures with the use of DPGUARD®. All these developments are based upon direct requirements from the aviation industry and its correspondent bodies such as EI, JIG, IFQP or A4A. FAUDI Aviation has created several safeguard solutions as shown below:

AFGUARD® – Fuel Quality Control Sensor

AFGUARD® SENSOR

FAUDI Aviation began the development of sensors as a result of end customer requirement to have a means of filtering outlet fuel quality control. The result is the AFGUARD® - an EI 1598 approved sensor for the detection of free water in jet fuel. It allows control of the whole operation in terms of free water content throughout the entire refuelling process and intervenes when necessary using adapted accessories in cases of free water apparition. The AFGUARD® is calibrated to measure contamination levels of free water in the range of 0 to 50 ppm with the additional feature that detects high levels of water as a water slug indication to immediately stop the refuelling process. 4 | WWW.AIRPORTTECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM

The AFGUARD® is easy to use and is the best solution for online fuel quality control. The AFGUARD® has been field-tested for more than eight years in different aviation fuel applications and is recommended by IFQP to be used as an alternative to chemical water detectors. It is fail safe and fully hazardous-area approved, fulfilling all relevant requirements according ATEX or IECEx for worldwide hazardous area installations. The 4 to 20 mA signal output is the global standard and meets the highest international requirements. Because of its size and weight, the AFGUARD® is best suited for retrofit on dispenser, refueller or fixed installations. In addition to the measurement of free water content past the filter, the AFGUARD® can perfectly be used to monitor the functionality of filter water separators or to inform about the water absorbing performance of filter monitors. Free water will be detected and, with AFGUARD® in place, the filters are under constant surveillance to insure their proper function. So long as the indicated differential pressure range is adhered to, extended service life for FAUDI Aviation Elements should result.

INSTALLATION OF AFGUARD® SENSOR AT SITE

The AFGUARD® allows the whole refuelling process to be monitored or just the control of water concentration limits along the refuelling process. Normally, the customer would switch the AFGUARD® with the board computer of the refuelling truck or with every interface capable of reading a linear analogue output signal from 4 to 20 mA. Independent of the availability of an onboard computer – FAUDI Aviation is able to deliver the full control package to run your applications.

SLUGGUARD® Sensor – Filter Inlet Water Slug Protection

SLUGGUARD® SENSOR

The Energy Institute (EI) in London together with the South West Research Institute (SWRI) in San Antonio (US) carried out intensive research


INNOVATIONS IN ELECTRONIC SENSOR TECHNOLOGY FOR MONITORING AVIATION FUEL QUALITY

to select suitable sensors for the detection of large amounts of free water in a flowing aviation refuelling system running Jet A and Jet A1 fuels. Out of the different tested sensors with capacitance, conductivity, water volume, electrical resistance or capacitance / dielectric working principle, the FAUDI Aviation SLUGGUARD® sensor performed best. This sensor fulfils the new EI 1592 specification, where is it is required to install the sensor upstream of the filter vessel. Its intended use so far is to observe fuel cleanliness levels at filter inlet to protect the filter in case of high water occurrence. Connected to a control system, the sensor immediately shut down the fuel in case of water slug indication. The sensor is very small and compact in design. It is maintenance- free and comes together with ATEX approval for international use. It fits all applications and is best suited for retrofits on dispensers, refuellers and fixed installations.

DRAINGUARD®-sump

or notify about the need for drainage. The DRAINGUARD®-sump is almost maintenance free and uses ATEX components for international use. It is failsafe and enables external testing of the SLUGGUARD® sensor. The fully automated drainage comes along with a manual drainage valve for testing purposes.

DRAINGUARD®-SUMP INSTALLED ON WATER SUMP OF A FILTER WATER SEPARATOR

SLUGGUARD® SENSOR INSTALLED ON INLET OF A FILTER VESSEL

DRAINGUARD -sump – Automated Water Sump Drainage ®

A special application for the FAUDI Aviation SLUGGUARD® sensor is the automatized filter water drainage the DRAINGUARD ® -sump application. The DRAINGUARD®-sump is a fully automated drainage system for water sumps of filter water separators. The SLUGGUARD® sensor is the sensing part of the DRAINGUARD®-sump kit to generate failsafe drainage of water sumps. The water defence action to shut down the flow in case of excessive water is included in the functionality of the DRAINGUARD®-sump. The very special feature of this device is the fact that it will work even with very small amouts of water as a precaution against the microbial contamination of water sumps. It can be used as a stand-alone system or it can be connected to a PLC system (SCADA) to alarm

The DRAINGUARD®-sump is optimally suited for retrofit on existing filter water separator vessels without the need of drilling or welding.

DPGUARD® Corrected Differential Pressure Calculation The FAUDI Aviation DPGUARD® is a fully automated smart controller to give out the corrected differential pressure across the filter elements in mobile or stationary vessels being operated at less than maximum rated flow. The DPGUARD® automatically calculates the condition of the filter elements inside the vessel using the signal inputs of flow rate and differential pressure across the elements. It monitors the changing condition of the elements and provides a history so that element changeout times can be anticipated and abnormal conditions can be detected. It carries out a continuous differential pressure calculation for corrected differential pressure, logging it and comparing the results against previously calculated numbers. In case of critical values, it gives out an alarm and automatically stops the fuelling process without further interaction. WWW.AIRPORTTECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM | 5


INNOVATIONS IN ELECTRONIC SENSOR TECHNOLOGY FOR MONITORING AVIATION FUEL QUALITY

The FAUDI DPGUARD® is the best means of informing the user about the health of filter elements, having all relevant requirements and operational standards incorporated The FAUDI DPGUARD® is the best means of informing the user about the health of filter elements, having all relevant requirements and operational standards incorporated such as JIG 1, A4A, JIG 2, API 1595, EI / JIG 1530. Using the DPGUARD® for corrected DP trend analysis, it delivers automatized information regarding contamination loading to the actual filtration system without the need to manually carry out the dp correction. DPGUARD® provides the operator with advanced notification that a filtration system may be nearing the end of its serviceable life and gives real time information about any significant decrease in DP during aircraft fuelling. In combination with AFGUARD®, DPGUARD® can be used to establish “performance-based filter life” instead of fixed time levels for the exchange of filters. The information above gives only a small picture of the various FAUDI Aviation sensor solutions that provide additional safety levels around filtration. It is not intended to replace filters by the use of sensors but to optimize the lifetimes of filter elements as a result of improved performance criteria. Actual filter monitor lifetime is limited to one year of use, independent of throughput or other criteria. It makes sense to observe carefully filter performance using advanced electronic sensor technology to prolong the life of filter elements as long as they are in good working order. Good working conditions can be achieved with the use of corrected differential

pressure and filtration with AFGUARD® free water measurement. The same procedure can be used for filter water separators, which easily can be combined with automated water sump drainage DRAINGUARD® -sumps. These incorporate the best maintenance to optimize the lifetime of filters through state-ofthe-art filtration operations to provide another step for greater safety in the air. The FAUDI Aviation motto ”quality guarantees safety” embodies the every day culture of this small to medium company. The aim of FAUDI Aviation is to contribute to the security of end users. FAUDI Aviation ensures safety throughout the whole process right up to the time fuel reaches the aircraft - clean and dry aviation fuel for safe flying. The FAUDI Company was founded in 1938 by Fritz Faudi and has been continuously involved in the filtration and separation of aviation fuels, industrial liquids and gases. FAUDI serves its customer world-wide and is well known in the field of aviation fuel filtration. With nearly 80 years of experience and having state-of-the-art facilities, FAUDI Aviation offers highly efficient and cost effective solutions for a range of filtration and separation problems. In order to find a remedy to those problems, FAUDI rely on an extremely motivated and highly experienced workforce of engineers, technicians and designers who enable the Company to carry out projects meeting all customer requirements and standards both national and international. If you would like to have a partner who helps you and gives you the most effective solution to every situation -contact us and let’s get the best for you today!

Contact FAUDI Aviation GmbH Mr. Matthias Aden Phone: +49 (0) 6428 4465 – 212 Fax: +49 (0) 6428 4465 – 221 E-Mail: sensor@faudi-aviation.com Web: www.faudi-aviation-sensor.com

The AFGUARD® has been field-tested for more than eight years in different aviation fuel applications and is recommended by IFQP to be used as an alternative to chemical water detectors

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INNOVATIONS IN ELECTRONIC SENSOR TECHNOLOGY FOR MONITORING AVIATION FUEL QUALITY

Counting the Cost: Contaminated Fuel Tom Cropper, Editor Fuel usage is one of the biggest cost factors for an airline, but when fuel gets contaminated it can be much more than simply the bottom line at stake.

O

N THE 13th April, 2010, a Cathay Pacific flight from Juanda International Airport Indonesia was coming in to land at Hong Kong Airport. It was a routine landing but, as it approached, crew were unable to change the thrust output of the engines. The aircraft landed at almost twice the usual speed, suffering damage and injuring just over 50 passengers. Nobody was killed, but it was an example of the thousands of incidents which occur every year due to fuel contamination.

A Major Problem Fuel contamination is a major risk to aircraft. The Hong Kong incident may not have been fatal, but others have not been so lucky. In 2016, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau found that fuel contamination had caused a fatal helicopter crash1. An Austin based Global Intelligence Company claimed that contaminated fuel could also have been at fault for a fatal helicopter crash which killed a Mexican government minister2. Meanwhile, in 2008, a British Airways jet was forced to crash land at Heathrow after fuel froze in its engine, during a flight over Siberia, causing it to lose power. All passengers and crew on board the flight survived although one did suffer a broken leg3. These are just some of the dangerous incidents caused by fuel contamination. Although it’s been a problem for some time, the causes are not always well understood. In general, contamination can be attributed to three major issues: •W  ater: Jet fuel can easily absorb and hold water in suspension. When the temperature drops, water can be drawn out of the solution and accumulate at the bottom of the tank. It can decrease the efficiency of the fuel, cause corrosion of parts and, if enough water is present, can freeze. This is what happened with the British Airways flight. Investigators believed

unusually low temperatures at altitude over Siberia could have caused the fuel to freeze. •M  icrobial: Certain bacteria and microorganisms can exist in the water and use the alkaline additives found in fuel as sustenance. If it builds up into sufficient quantities, it can cause corrosion of certain steel components, foul filters and attack rubber components. •P  articulate: Almost anything can get into fuel and cause a wide range of problems. Dust, sand and rust are often to be found in contaminated fuel. It can clog filters and cause components to fail further down the line. The Cathay Pacific crash at Hong Kong has been attributed to the existence of super absorbent polymer SAP spheres. These were similar to the SAP materials found in the filter monitors of the ground refuelling dispenser.

Prevention and Cure Preventing contamination is difficult. The refinery may be able to produce perfectly clean and dry fuel, but on its way from there to the aircraft it will pass through many stages, each with the potential for contamination. It can happen during transport to storage, it could happen when the fuel is removed from storage and transferred to the aircraft, or during maintenance. The problem of contamination is even bigger because it’s so difficult to detect and monitor. Problems occur in the structure of the fuel. When failure does happen, it is unexpected and sudden. Resolving issues takes time and manpower. Investigators must spend time looking into the root-cause of the issue, running tests and devising ways to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Removing contaminants from fuel is a continuing and labour-intensive business. Operators must draw up comprehensive procedures and quality control strategies on the handling and transfer of fuel. Even then it’s not always easy to be certain

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INNOVATIONS IN ELECTRONIC SENSOR TECHNOLOGY FOR MONITORING AVIATION FUEL QUALITY

Removing contaminants from fuel is a continuing and labourintensive business. Operators must draw up comprehensive procedures and quality control strategies on the handling and transfer of fuel

of what condition the fuel is in. This brings us to another problem – money.

A Financial Problem Fuel contamination is a very real danger to life and limb – and in such a safety-conscious industry, that is indeed the overriding issue. But airlines also work in a high pressure fiscal environment. Competition is intense, profit margins are slim and costs unpredictable. Airlines enjoyed a respite on fuel costs in the wake of the oil price crash of 2014. In the space of a few weeks, oil lost more than 50% of its value plunging from over $100 per barrel to less than $304. However, that respite is coming to an end. After seven consecutive quarters in which jet fuel prices fell, aviation companies reported rising costs in the final quarter of 20165. How big a problem this becomes depends on what measures companies have put in place. The rise was widely expected; such low prices could not continue indefinitely. The question is: have companies factored rising

fuel costs into their future financial planning or will they be in for a period of economic turbulence, and eye-catching losses? One might hope it’s the former, but in an industry where competition for custom is intense, there will always be the temptation to keep prices down in an attempt to maintain a competitive edge. A pressure to focus on short term gains can over-ride long term considerations. Either way, aviation fuel is a major cost for airlines. Anything they can do to improve efficiency and reduce fuel wastage will have a profound impact on their bottom line. Furthermore, the money they can save could put them at a competitive advantage against their competitors. If this is not front and center of the discussion, it soon will be. Fuel contamination is a relatively small part of the overall process, but its importance cannot be overstated. Avoiding fuel contamination can save lives, and also maintain a company’s financial health. The time has come to give it the priority and focus it deserves.

After seven consecutive quarters in which jet fuel prices fell, aviation companies reported rising costs in the final quarter of 2016

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INNOVATIONS IN ELECTRONIC SENSOR TECHNOLOGY FOR MONITORING AVIATION FUEL QUALITY

Sensor Technology: A New Electric Future Jo Roth, Staff Writer How aircraft are embracing electronic fuel quality sensor technology to improve their bottom line and maintain safety.

R

EMEMBER DONALD Rumsfeld and his known unknowns? Not the most eloquent of speeches perhaps, but he had a point. In politics, life – and indeed the aviation industry, it’s those unknown unknowns which get you every time. For a good example, just look at the hundreds of flights which experience problems because of impurities in the fuel. Problems range from minor to major. It could cause anything from inefficient fuel consumption to additional maintenance costs, to sudden equipment failure resulting in an emergency. The problem is that impurities within the fuel are difficult to spot and locate. This can lead to higher than expected fuel consumption – costs go up, but you don’t know why. This is why it pays to take preventative measures and improve fuel monitoring processes – so that operators can at least see when there is a problem.

Stuck in the Past Aircraft engines and aviation systems in general have advanced greatly over the years. Digital technology rules, as airlines and airports push towards the ideal of an integrated, connected sky. Such advances bring a host of benefits. They increase the amount of information available to operators; they streamline processes, reduce maintenance, save money improve safety and performance. Small wonder, then, that in so many areas of aviation today, digital is the way forward. Even so, many areas have not evolved to keep up, and aviation fuel monitoring is one of them. The chemistry involved in fuel quality is incredibly complex, but manual inspection methods such as the clear bucket test are still common. This relies on a visual inspection of fuel by an expert prior to take off. He or she will inspect the liquid and make judgements on its clarity and quality. It is a highly subjective test and is vulnerable to a wide range of variables: the expertise of the

inspector, their judgement on that day, lighting levels and much more. Other, more quantifiable methods, include monitoring the liquid using chemical tests. These measure the fuel and compare it against IATA guidelines for acceptable levels of contamination. They focus on two of the most common forms of contamination – particulate and floating water. Because the levels of acceptability for these vary considerably (acceptable levels of free water are 30 times greater than particulate contamination) there are several different tests.

Manual Tests Some use a chemical solution to test for the presence of free water. The color of the water membrane is then visually assessed against a standard. The accuracy of these tests is generally plus or minus five PPM. They also rely on a relatively small sample size – at its best this provides a clear assessment of that quantity and nothing more. An AquaGlow test runs water through a fluorescent pad. Any free water will stick to the pad and show up under UV light. Inspectors can compare the pad against a normal sample and make a determination about the fuel quality. Again, such a test is highly subjective and is error-prone. Not only is the sample size small, but it fails to take into account changes in fuel composition which can occur during flight. Many things can affect fuel quality: sudden altitude changes can impact fuel density and character and cold temperatures can influence the fuel and cause ice to form inside, as happened with a British Airways flight travelling over Siberia in 20086. Manual techniques are also labour-intensive. They take time and require skilled staff to operate; they need aircraft to be grounded, increasing maintenance costs, and reducing the time in which it can be operational and drive value WWW.AIRPORTTECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM | 9


INNOVATIONS IN ELECTRONIC SENSOR TECHNOLOGY FOR MONITORING AVIATION FUEL QUALITY

The industry is now pushing towards electronic sensors which can deliver real-time quality measurements of fuel

for the airline. For airport operators, increased fuel monitoring causes delays and increases turnaround time. They can also cause errors in fuel level monitoring. The density of floating matter or water differs from aviation fuel – which will result in a different reading for fuel gauges. This has obvious dangers. If we run out of fuel in our car it means a long walk and a ruined afternoon; if it happens in the air, it endangers everyone on board. For example, in 2016, a charter flight operated by La Mia took off with insufficient fuel reserves; it crashed short of its destination after a short holding delay killing 71 of the 77 people on board7. Another crash in the same year which killed a Brazilian football team occurred because of fuel shortages. Investigators found that the plane had no fuel on impact, backing up audio in which the pilot asked to land because of a lack of fuel and electronics failures8. Such incidents are relatively rare, and are becoming rarer thanks to the arrival of new technologies.

Real-Time Monitoring The industry is now pushing towards electronic sensors which can deliver real-time quality

measurements of fuel. The latest systems use techniques such as scattered light to detect levels of particulate and water contamination. Scattered light penetrates the fuel with a constant stream of light. Photo diodes in the sensor can detect scattered lights caused by floating matter within the liquid. They can also detect a water slug in jet fuel. The system can both monitor the levels of contaminants in water and also assess the performance of in-line filters. This provides operators with a more comprehensive overview of fuel quality, which enables them to optimize fuel performance and reduce the risk of unforeseen incidents. Fuel sensors, therefore, can provide a much clearer picture of aviation fuel quality. They do much more than offer a subjective measurement based on an expert opinion; they can identify issues with water contamination, ensuring the safety of those on board, and also helping airlines to optimize fuel efficiency and performance. However, they represent only a part of the solution. Another is filter technology to provide a cleaning mechanism, which we will investigate elsewhere in this Report.

The chemistry involved in fuel quality is incredibly complex, but manual inspection methods such as the clear bucket test are still common

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INNOVATIONS IN ELECTRONIC SENSOR TECHNOLOGY FOR MONITORING AVIATION FUEL QUALITY

Fuel Quality: Time for an Upgrade James Butler, Staff Writer Market demands, increased regulatory requirements and aircraft safety – just some of the factors driving change in the electronic sensor market.

E

VERY DAY, the world’s major airports handle hundreds of flights and thousands of passengers. However, in a world in which demand for air travel is mushrooming, those numbers are on the rise. The pressure is on to bring in and refuel each flight as quickly as possible to optimize turnaround rates and maximize the capacity of airports. To do so, they will need to fuel each aircraft as quickly as possible; at the same time, their filters need to remove efficiently all impurities. With regulatory scrutiny on the rise and environmental demands pushing for ever greater fuel efficiency, airports need to upgrade to the latest generation of fuel filtration.

What to Consider When planning a fuel management strategy, airlines need to consider a myriad of pressures. Money is tight. Profit margins have declined in the aviation industry over the past few decades, despite soaring demand. Over the past 30 years, they have fallen by 50%9. The low-cost market has created a customer who is both highly demanding and expecting low prices. Every penny counts. Fuel represents by far the biggest operating cost, with most airlines spending approximately 30% of their operating budget on fuel10. The future of oil prices is uncertain, with most analysts predicting

a period of high volatility. Managing fuel costs will be an even greater priority than ever before. Fuel impurities can reduce the efficiency of fuel, requiring higher thrust and greater than expected fuel consumption. In an environment in which profit margins are under pressure, this can have a major impact on an airline’s bottom line. It’s not just money that matters, though. The aviation industry is one of the least environmentally friendly in the world and is working hard to clean up its image. To do that it needs to reduce fuel consumption and use cleaner energy. In 2015, United Airlines began using biofuels for flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco11. Other airlines have followed suit and there is genuine optimism that biofuels will enable many airlines to switch to alternative fuel sources. These fuels are now demonstrating comparable performance to conventional aviation fuel and, while they are more expensive, airlines see them as a way of meeting their carbon emissions objectives while also reducing their reliance on the price of oil. Such advances have potential in the future, but to make strides now, airlines need to cut their fuel emissions. One of the best ways they can do that is to improve the quality of the fuel they use. Better quality fuel will enable engines to operate at maximum efficiency and reduce fuel consumption.

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INNOVATIONS IN ELECTRONIC SENSOR TECHNOLOGY FOR MONITORING AVIATION FUEL QUALITY

Equipment will need to be durable. All filters and sensors come with a serviceable life expectancy but the working environment can be harsh

Growing Demand The third issue is capacity. Demand for air travel is set to continue to grow in both the short and the long term. IATA’s 20-year forecast expects passenger numbers to double over the next 20 years with more than 7bn people travelling by air by 203512. Much of this growth will come from emerging economies such as China and India as a thriving middle class takes to the skies. However, more mature markets such as Europe and the US will also continue to grow. Coping with such a challenge is likely to be the dominant feature of the next few decades. Opportunities to expand physically are limited. Doing so is expensive, takes time and is controversial. Airports will have to get more out of their existing infrastructure, which means increasing their capacity, accelerating turnaround and getting more aircraft processed each day. They will need systems which reduce the amount of time required for crucial ground operations. Fuel will need to be dispensed quickly and safely. Maintaining the quality of aviation fuel going into each aircraft will do a great deal to reduce time wasted in maintenance and removing suboptimal fuel. The latest filtration systems can save time and money by switching the action from cure to prevention.

Pressure from Above These factors cover the cost and profit considerations, but there’s a further drive in the form of regulation. Every time investigators attribute an accident to sub-standard fuel the industry learns more. As technology improves, the capabilities of filtration systems increase. As a result, authorities are continuously updating their guidelines and issuing mandates for more effective filtration systems.

New EI 1581 and 1583 6th Edition Specifications aim to improve the quality of water separators as well as taking account of new technologies, and to ensure lab testing represents a more accurate depiction of the real world. This creates a regulatory-mandated impetus to upgrade to the next generation of filter technologies, which can pass the latest specifications. For developers, this represents a key point of differentiation. They will use EI 1581 and 1583 qualifications as a firm independent recognition of their product’s quality.

Surviving Harsh Conditions This should be what a buyer should look for when choosing a supplier. However, they should also find out more about the testing processes. Lab testing may not always mirror real life conditions. Suppliers may be motivated to be less stringent on their lab testing in order to secure a better result. Others will have the best testing procedures possible to be certain that their products can replicate test results in the real environment. Equipment will need to be durable. All filters and sensors come with a serviceable life expectancy but the working environment can be harsh. Materials will need to be rated to withstand the harshest environments to minimize the risk of unexpected failure. Systems will also need multilayered sensors to monitor the condition of filter material to indicate when a filter might be nearing the end of its life. The overall aim is to provide a system which not only removes as much contamination as possible, but also provides insight into the condition of both the fuel and the filter material. It’s a good way to reassure pilots that there aren’t any nasty surprises lurking in their fuel tanks.

Fuel impurities can reduce the efficiency of fuel, requiring higher thrust and greater than expected fuel consumption

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INNOVATIONS IN ELECTRONIC SENSOR TECHNOLOGY FOR MONITORING AVIATION FUEL QUALITY

The Future of Fuel Filtration Tom Cropper, Editor How filter technology is improving and where it will be going in the future.

A

SK ANY doctor and they’ll agree – prevention is better than cure, both for the hospital and the patient – it’s cheaper, easier, safer and less expensive. The same is true in aviation. Correcting a problem takes time, uses manpower and can be extremely expensive. Installing systems which prevent a problem occurring in the first place is – comparatively speaking – inexpensive and reduces the chances of an issue ever happening. Updating filtration technology is something aviation companies should be doing for a number of reasons.

Time to Change They should because it’s safer. Aviation can be a dangerous business. The first priority of any airline is to ensure the safety of its passengers and crew. They should because regulators demand it. Fresh regulations are continually being introduced to improve the quality of filters, and testing. The should because it’s kind to the environment. Filters improve fuel efficiency and cut back on fuel usage. It’s the most immediate way to reduce carbon emissions. Finally, they should because it’s good for their business. Reduced fuel consumption means reduced cost. In an age in which aviation fuel prices are on the way up once more, this could be critical to a company’s bottom line. Eliminating fuel contamination will also reduce maintenance requirements, improving the turnaround time of aircraft on the ground, increasing airport capacity and maximizing the amount of time an aircraft spends delivering revenue.

Filtrating Technologies Most of all, the technology is improving which offers the chance of securing a competitive advantage in an extremely demanding industry. The latest filtration systems use a multistage process to remove impurities and monitor the condition of fuel. Stage one uses a coalescer which holds back particles such as sand and coalesces small water droplets into much larger droplets. These have a higher density

than fuel and drop to the bottom of the water sump separator. Stage two is a separator which takes advantage of the difference in surface tension between kerosene and water to hold back those water droplets which had not yet sunk to the bottom of the water sump. Those water droplets gather on the surface and then sink to the water sump. Finally, a water monitor will block the flow if the presence of water is too high. Problems occur when filter medium becomes blocked or fails to prevent impurities making their way through. It can be difficult to detect until failure occurs, which is why filtration systems now come with state-of-the-art electronic sensor technologies, to provide constant real-time monitoring of the flow.

Upgrading Sensors Products such as the AFGUARD® from Faudi Aviation provide much more information about the quality and condition of the fuel. It’s calibrated to detect the presence of water between 0 and 50ppm and will sound an alarm when the presence of water gets too high, and even shut down the flow if water presence exceeds 30ppm. It can also monitor the condition of the multistage filter elements and alert operators when a system may be reaching the end of its service life. It can be used with other Faudi products including the SLUGGUARD®, which can detect high levels of floating free water, a DRAINGUARD® which allows it to detect small quantities of water such as microbial contamination and the DPGUARD® which measures the corrected pressure differential for all filter elements. Automated systems such as this give operators a much clearer picture of the quality of fuel and the current status of filter elements. This avoids the unpleasant surprise of having systems fail unexpectedly, something which will do a great deal to improve aircraft safety and help airlines improve their bottom line. Attitudes are changing. Awareness about the importance of fuel quality is growing. Airlines are moving away from outdated manual monitoring processes and moving to more advanced WWW.AIRPORTTECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM | 13


INNOVATIONS IN ELECTRONIC SENSOR TECHNOLOGY FOR MONITORING AVIATION FUEL QUALITY

Technology is advancing rapidly, demands are growing and the market is becoming increasingly competitive. Moreover, airlines are transitioning to new, more sustainable fuels which will heighten the focus on fuel quality

electronic systems which provide automated alerts when they need to take action. By doing so they are saving money and lives and improving their own performance. However, there is more to come. Technology is advancing rapidly, demands are growing and the market is becoming increasingly competitive. Moreover, airlines are transitioning to new, more sustainable fuels which will heighten the focus on fuel quality. The use of biofuels in aviation is an area which has immense potential but remains an unknown quality. Tests have been positive. An analysis of the first civil flight powered by 100% biofuel by the National Research Council found the fuel to be much cleaner and as efficient as conventional fuels. In-flight information revealed a 50% reduction in aerosol emissions. It also showed a 25% reduction in particles over conventional fuel and up to a 49% reduction on black carbon emissions. Engine performance was comparable but with a 1.5% improvement in fuel consumption13.

Sustainable Fuels The technology, though, remains expensive and unproven. The benefits are very real; they can help airlines reach their carbon emissions goals and greatly reduce the reliance on oil – something

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which is attractive in an environment of high price volatility. But will it be enough? It remains expensive and the aviation industry will have to adapt to incorporate its use – particularly in the realm of testing. Performance is unknown and testing for fuel quality – and how it performs over a prolonged period of time – will play a vital role in the aviation industry. Aviation is heading into a world of big data and information – when pilots and crew will know more about the status of their aircraft than ever before. Concepts such as the ‘smart, connected cabin’, and the internet of things, gather information from sensors throughout the aircraft to feed back into a central repository. One day It could be possible to view all sorts of details such as how tired passengers are, minor damage to the skin of an aircraft, and the quality and composition of the fuel. Operators will receive early warnings if a problem is about to occur allowing them to schedule preventative maintenance, rather than dealing with an emergency. It will also provide much more information about how components are performing, which can lead to multiple gains. It’s a future full of connectivity and information in which even the tiniest detail is analyzed. The results will be aircraft which are safer, faster and less expensive to run.


INNOVATIONS IN ELECTRONIC SENSOR TECHNOLOGY FOR MONITORING AVIATION FUEL QUALITY

References: 1

Contaminated Fuel Caused Helicopter Crash:

2

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-17/cattleman-dougal-brett-r44-robinson-crash-investigation-atsb/8034080 Fuel Contamination Eyed in Fatal Mexico Air Crash

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Fuel-contamination-eyed-in-fatal-Mexico-air-crash-2273093.php 3

British Airways Jet Crash Lands at Heathrow:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-566023/British-Airways-jet-crash-landed-Heathrow-fuel-froze-flight-Siberia.html 4

Crude Falls Below $30 per Barrel for First Time in 12 Years:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-12/wti-oil-falls-below-30-for-first-time-since-dec-2003 5

Rising Fuel Costs Spell Trouble for Airlines: https://skift.com/2017/01/05/rising-fuel-costs-spell-trouble-for-the-u-s-airline-industry/

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Heathrow Crash Landing Caused by Fuel Freeze:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1950444/Heathrow-crash-landing-caused-by-fuel-freeze.html 7

LaMia Flight 2933: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LaMia_Flight_2933

8

Chapecoense air crash: Colombia plane ‘ran out of fuel: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-38165757

9

How Airline Ticket Prices Fell 50% in 30 Years:

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/02/how-airline-ticket-prices-fell-50-in-30-years-and-why-nobody-noticed/273506/ 10

To What Extent Will Changing Fuel Prices Affect Airline Profitability:

http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/052515/what-extent-will-changing-fuel-costs-affect-profitability-airline-industry.asp 11

United Airlines is Flying on Biofuels. Here’s Why That’s a Big Deal: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/03/11/united-airlines-is-flying-on-biofuels-heres-why-thats-a-really-big-deal/?utm_term=.0dfc03cd7edf

12

IATA Forecasts Passenger Demand to Double Over 20 Years: http://www.iata.org/pressroom/pr/Pages/2016-10-18-02.aspx

13

Analysis of First 100% Biofuels Tested in-flight: http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/news/releases/2013/biofuels.html

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INNOVATIONS IN ELECTRONIC SENSOR TECHNOLOGY FOR MONITORING AVIATION FUEL QUALITY

Notes:

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Innovations in Electronic Sensor Technology for Monitoring Aviation Fuel Quality  

Airport Technology Reports Innovations in Electronic Sensor Technology for Monitoring Aviation Fuel Quality – FAUDI Aviation GmbH

Innovations in Electronic Sensor Technology for Monitoring Aviation Fuel Quality  

Airport Technology Reports Innovations in Electronic Sensor Technology for Monitoring Aviation Fuel Quality – FAUDI Aviation GmbH