NewJet Network+

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Mechanical Engineering

Abstract

A thriving aviation sector sits at the heart of the UK's vision for a global and connected Britain. Aviation and aerospace contribute more than £22bn a year to the UK economy. R&D in electric and hybrid aircraft technology is essential in the journey to decarbonise aviation, but will be realised initially in short haul travel. Medium and long-haul aircraft, where the majority of carbon emissions are produced, will remain dependent on liquid fuel for the foreseeable future.

The aviation sector demands a fuel of high quality to cope with the extreme conditions experienced in flight around the globe, and thus requires governmental and multilateral organisations to work closely together to ensure safety across the whole sector. This rigour means that the industry has several self-regulating bodies controlling the specification of fuel, principally ASTM International based in the US and the Aviation Fuels Committee, run by the UK MOD and the Energy Institute. The focus on safety has meant that the fuel used by the sector has not changed substantially since the 1960's, despite significant advances in the engine and airframe energy efficiencies. The NewJet Network+ would seek overcome the industry "inertia" by taking a longer term and more strategic view than is currently in place within the specification community.

The NewJet Network+ will explore the advantages to commercial aviation offered by the increasing levels of low carbon, synthetic fuel production beyond the existing fuel specification. The network will create a forum (free from commercial restraints that would limit freedom of forward and more strategic thinking) where an exploration of a new jet fuel specification for 2040 and beyond can be investigated. It will specifically focus on the improved properties of synthetic fuels over conventionally refined, fossil fuel feedstocks.

Building on the present model of developing synthetic fuels to mimic the behaviour of conventional fuels, the goal of NewJet isto provide new understanding and insights into the benefits and barriers to a new fuel specification by 2040. The outcome of NewJet will be a virtual centre of excellence linking the chemical properties of a fuel to improved performance properties in flight.

We believe that intervention at a whole system level will help provide a platform for discussions as to the possible benefits of a new fuel specification for conventional and alternative fuels - in terms of CO2 reductions, but also more widely, the non-CO2 benefits, performance and cost of ownership.

Planned Impact

The NewJet Network+ will build on the existing networks working on the sustainability of aviation and bringing together the rich expertise that the UK has in these areas, linking into the existing networks such as ICAO-CAEP, the UK Aviation Fuels Committee Meeting, ASTM, the European ECATS network and SUPERGEN.

The detailed content of each workshop will be shaped by the core team. In order to have sufficient visibility, these workshops will be built around the strategic needs of the challenge themes below, however some flexibility will be maintained if some priority topic emerges during the course of the project. Each workshop will require an appropriate level of preparation and reporting from the core team. High quality proceedings identifying strengths and knowledge gaps will be issued initially through the NewJet website, and through dissemination in the networks that the core members participate regularly.

The aviation sector demands a fuel of high quality to cope with the extreme conditions experienced in flight around the globe, and thus requires governmental and multilateral organisations to work closely together to ensure safety across the whole sector. This rigour means that the industry has several self-regulating bodies controlling the specification of fuel, principally ASTM International based in the US and the Aviation Fuels Committee, run by the UK MOD and the Energy Institute. The focus on safety has meant that the fuel used by the sector has not changed substantially since the 1960's, despite significant advances in the engine and airframe energy efficiencies. The NewJet Network+ would seek overcome the industry "inertia" by taking a longer term and more strategic view than is currently in place within the specification community. The results of the project will be presented at the UK Aviation Fuels Committee Meetings and the ASTM Aviation Fuels meetings, which together control most the world's aviation fuels specification. Additional connections have been made with the specification bodies in China through Herriot Watt.

Publications

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