Aircraft-Engine Particulate Matter Emissions from Conventional and Sustainable Aviation Fuel Combustion: Comparison of Measurement Techniques for Mass, Number, and Size


Sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) have different compositions compared to conventional petroleum jet fuels, particularly in terms of fuel sulfur and hydrocarbon content. These differences may change the amount and physicochemical properties of volatile and non-volatile particulate matter (nvPM) emitted by aircraft engines. In this study, we evaluate whether comparable nvPM measurement techniques respond similarly to nvPM produced by three blends of SAFs compared to three conventional fuels. Multiple SAF blends and conventional (Jet A-1) jet fuels were combusted in a V2527-A5 engine, while an additional conventional fuel (JP-8) was combusted in a CFM56-2C1 engine.We evaluated nvPM mass concentration measured by three real-time measurement techniques: photoacoustic spectroscopy, laser-induced incandescence, and the extinction-minus-scattering technique. Various commercial instruments were tested, including three laser-induced incandescence (LII) 300s, one photoacoustic extinctiometer (PAX), one micro soot sensor (MSS+), and two cavity-attenuated phase shift PMSSA (CAPS PMSSA) instruments. Mass-based emission indices (EIm) reported by these techniques were similar, falling within 30 % of their geometric mean for EIm above 100 mg per kg fuel (approximately 10 µg PM m-3 at the instrument); this geometric mean was therefore used as a reference value. Additionally, two integrative measurement techniques were evaluated: filter photometry and particle size distribution (PSD) integration. The commercial instruments used were one tricolor absorption photometer (TAP), one particle soot absorption photometer (PSAP), and two scanning mobility particle sizers (SMPSs). The TAP and PSAP were operated at 5 % and 10 % of their nominal flow rates, respectively, to extend the life of their filters. These techniques are used in specific applications, such as on board research aircraft to determine particulate matter (PM) emissions at cruise. EIm reported by the alternative techniques fell within approximately 50 % of the mean aerosol-phase EIm.In addition, we measured PM-number-based emission indices using PSDs and condensation particle counters (CPCs). The commercial instruments used included TSI SMPSs, a Cambustion differential mobility spectrometer (DMS500), and an AVL particle counter (APC), and the data also fell within approximately 50 % of their geometric mean. The number-based emission indices were highly sensitive to the accuracy of the sampling-line penetration functions applied as corrections. In contrast, the EIm data were less sensitive to those corrections since a smaller volume fraction fell within the size range where corrections were substantial. A separate, dedicated experiment also showed that the operating laser fluence used in the LII 300 laser-induced incandescence instrument for aircraft-engine nvPM measurement is adequate for a range of SAF blends investigated in this study. Overall, we conclude that all tested instruments are suitable for the measurement of nvPM emissions from the combustion of SAF blends in aircraft engines.




This research has been supported by the Transport Canada (TC Aviation - nvPM from renewable and conventional fuels), the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (Emission and Climate Impact of Alternative Fuels (ECLIF)), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, and the Federal Aviation Administration (ASCENT Project 002). ATRA operational and fuel costs along with DLR scientists' participation were funded by the DLR aeronautics program in the framework of the ECLIF project. The U.S. FAA Office of Environment and Energy and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate supported field and DC-8 operations and participation of the US researchers in the project. MS&T and ARI received support from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through the Aviation Sustainability Center (ASCENT) - a U.S. FAA-NASA-U.S. DoD-Transport Canada-U.S. EPA-sponsored Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and Environment under grant no. 13-C-AJFE-MST, Amendment 010. Andrew Freedman was supported by funds from ARI.

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1867-8548; 1867-1381

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Article - Journal

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Final Version

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Publication Date

30 May 2022

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