Swedish project looks to narrow the emissions reporting gap between estimated and actual flight paths
Tue 11 Apr 2017 – Until now, calculating emissions from aircraft in Sweden has assumed airlines take the straightest and shortest routes, despite this not being the usual case in real-world conditions. A collaboration involving the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), the Swedish Transport Agency and Sweden’s air navigation service provider LFV is now trying to narrow the gap between estimated and actual flight paths. The project has involved FOI, a leading defence and security research institute that also studies the environmental impact of aircraft, accessing LFV’s radar tracks from 2,200 domestic flights during a few weeks in 2016. By studying the radar tracks, FOI has been able to refine its calculation model and bring down the difference by around 8%. LFV said the outcome could lead to lower fuel consumption and a reduced climate impact from the aviation sector.
“Through including a fuel model in our radar analysis tool, we can help FOI and the Transport Agency to make more precise calculations of emissions from Swedish aircraft,” explained Patrik Bergviken, air traffic controller at Landvetter Airport and participant in the project.
“We will also be able to analyse how fuel consumption is affected by changes in airspace and working methods. It creates benefit and value for the airlines, which will also have more data to develop their operations and improve sustainability.”
State-owned LFV controls air traffic at 20 airports and from three control centres in Sweden. It says research and development is a key area of its focus, along with offering smart solutions through its international aviation consultancy arm.
FOI already maintains a confidential database of emission indices of NOx, HC and CO with corresponding fuel flows for turboprop engines that is used for compiling emissions inventories and emissions-related landing charges.
Although turboprop aircraft very seldom fly high enough to have an impact, another area of the FOI, LFV and the Swedish Transport Agency project is to study the high altitude effects of emissions from turbojet aircraft. FOI notes that reducing the environmental impact of aircraft often involves complex trade-offs between different environmental actions. The purpose of its work, it says, is to develop system analysis tools and methods with which to model the aircraft’s environmental impact so the total effect of changes and remedial measures can be assessed.
“We have access to tools for the calculation of emissions and are able to provide results that take account of how the aircraft is being operated, climatic effects and the existing laws and regulations governing environmental and climatic reporting,” said the institute, which also conducts noise studies and develops computational methods for sound generation and propagation from aircraft.