Study to provide most detailed understanding yet of aircraft emissions

University is key partner in €5m pan-EU project

Manchester Metropolitan is a key partner is the AVIATOR project to test aviation emissions and air quality near airports

Manchester Metropolitan is a key partner is the AVIATOR project to test aviation emissions and air quality near airports

Researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University will help provide the most detailed understanding yet of aircraft emissions and their associated impact on airport air quality.

David Raper, Professor of Environmental Science and the principal investigator from Manchester Metropolitan University's Centre for Aviation, Transport and the Environment, is one of the key academics behind an ambitious €5.5 million multinational project that could ultimately boost green transport, health and sustainability, and the competitiveness of the aviation industry.

The results of the study, called AVIATOR (Assessing Aviation Emission Impact on Local Air Quality at Airports: Towards Regulation), will be of interest to politicians and policymakers, regulators, aircraft and jet engine manufacturers, airport operators, environmental campaign groups and the wider public.

Our objective is to provide policy makers, regulators, industry and the public with a comprehensive understanding of the impact that aircraft have on air quality in and around airports

AVIATOR will see a comprehensive evaluation of emissions from aircraft engines during the taxiing and take-off procedure, and measurements of air quality within and around three international airports.

It is funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme and the National Research Council of Canada and will be delivered by Manchester Metropolitan University as part of a consortium of 17 research partners led by Spain’s space and aviation agency, the Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA).

Prof Raper said: "AVIATOR is a holistic approach and builds on previous studies. 

“However, where it differs from previous work is that it is employing a systematic approach which encompasses test cell, on-wing, ambient measurements and detailed modelling to better characterise aircraft emissions and their impact on air quality.

 “Our objective is to provide policy makers, regulators, industry and the public with a comprehensive understanding of the impact that aircraft have on air quality in and around airports.”


Emissions will be monitored via on-wing tests on aeroplanes

Prof Raper said the University has a key role in the three-year study.

He said: "We will be part of the team responsible for measuring emissions from on-wing engines and will be part of the team conducting ambient measurements and developing low-cost sensor nodes.

"We are also the lead partner and will have prime responsibility for liaising with regulators to ensure the outcomes of the project have impact - key deliverables include policy briefs and guidance on airport air quality assessment.

"We are also the lead partner for ensuring efficient and effective communication, dissemination and exploitation.

"A key deliverable for AVIATOR is to help develop the protocols for the sampling of aviation emissions suitable for health studies."

International

Over the course of three years AVIATOR will bring together international experts from organisations from across the aeronautical and environmental sectors to provide an enhanced understanding of how aircraft emissions affect air quality in and around airports.

By building on previous work and working alongside a world-leading airline, engine manufacturer and airports, the AVIATOR team will measure and characterise gases, aerosols and particles found in the aircraft engine exhaust and auxiliary power unit in a more detailed fashion than ever before.

They will be looking at primary emissions, the composition and evolution of the aircraft exhaust plume, how it disperses and the micro-physics and chemistry involved.

These detailed investigations will take place in an aircraft engine test facility at INTA and include on-wing tests using modern commercial aircraft operated by Iberia at Madrid-Barajas Airport.

The studies will provide more context of the differences between emissions measured under test conditions and those from actual airport operation. Investigations will also focus on the potential of alternative sustainable jet fuel to reduce emissions of pollutants.

Our research will support the EU strategy to develop an environmentally sustainable aviation sector and aims to boost the competitiveness of its aviation industries

Scientists will collect and analyse ambient measurements of air quality at Madrid–Barajas Airport in Spain, Zurich Airport in Switzerland and Kastrup Copenhagen Airport in Denmark, three climatically different airports.

The team will also develop a low-cost sensor network for the routine measurement of air quality within and around airports, and write detailed guidance for regulators and airport operators on the measurement and modelling of aircraft engine emissions.

Dr Victor Archilla, Head of Instrumentation and Experimental Measurement Techniques Laboratory at INTA, and the co-ordinator of AVIATOR, said: “Our research will support the EU strategy to develop an environmentally sustainable aviation sector and aims to boost the competitiveness of its aviation industries and achieve a transport system that is climate and environmentally friendly for the benefit of all citizens.

“AVIATOR responds to these challenges by providing better knowledge of the pollutants generated by the aircraft engine.

“Our outcomes will provide enhanced datasets and models to the aeronautical industry and stakeholders that will contribute to the smart, green and integrated transport sector.”

Previous Story Chief Executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) Dr Rhidian Hughes visits Birley Campus