Mario Berberan-Santos - Centro de Quimica-Fisica Molecular - Instituto Superior Tecnico http://web.ist.utl.pt/berberan
Wei Zhang, David J. Webb (Aston University, Institute of Photonics Technology)
Wei Zhang; David J. Webb
Thanks to the effective contribution of the safe fuel system, air travel is today the safest form of transport worldwide. However, safety can never be taken for granted. Constant effort is therefore needed to maintain the highest safety level, taking into account the global air transport industry and its changing operational context (i.e. new technologies, flight conditions evolution and climate changes).
All FS systems, subsystems, and components, added over time, have to work together and have also to work with other aircraft (A/C) critical systems such as engine bleed air supply systems and engines. When a new system, subsystem or component is introduced, its impacts on and its interconnections with the other FS systems, subsystems, components and the overall FS are not always thoroughly investigated and anticipated. For instance, the inter-dependence of the current fuel tank inerting system (FTIS) and the fuel venting subsystem is not fully understood. As a result, the complexity of the FS is now jeopardizing the perfect management of failure hazards. Consequently, the approach to add more systems, subsystems, and components to the already complex FS has now reached its limit:
It is not adequate when considering safety as a top priority,
Such an approach to prevent ice and failure will add more complexity to an already highly complex FS (with several new subsystems having to be added for ice and failure hazard prevention),
Such an approach also has negative impacts on A/C operating costs for:
SAFUEL is supported by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme.
With a project budget of 7.4 M €, the project is implemented during 3 years and a half (2012- Feb 2016). SAFUEL brings together a consortium of best-of-breed experts from academia and industry - from components to airframer.
Addressing air transport constraints and answering needs for a European-led research and technological development in FS safety, the overall objective of the SAFUEL project is to develop, test and validate the Safer Fuel System of the future.
Fully compliant with safety requirements, this Safer Fuel System will be able to deal with more extreme temperatures, stronger temperature gradients, higher humidity and more frequent exposure to lightning, due to:
Future flight conditions
Flight conditions are changing due to the opening of new routes at higher altitude or routes crossing the Arctic. Also, during landing and take-off, faster climbing and approaches are required to optimise the flight routes
New routes crossing the arctic
More exposure to hazardous weather conditions
New, emerging technologies such as the Composite aircraft, the More Electric Aircraft and alternative fuels.
The Figure above depicts the hazards (fire, ice and FS failure) that are addressed by the SAFUEL project while integrating the needs of future A/C platforms such as usage of alternative fuels, more composite aircraft or more electrical aircraft.
Consequently, SAFUEL has the following overarching technological objectives:
Within the SAFUEL project, work is organised to successfully progress through key milestones: