Transatlantic project to investigate the potential mitigating impact of alternative fuels on air quality at airports
Thu 5 Aug 2010 – International climate change and renewable energy consultancy AEA is to lead a project that will investigate how much US airports contribute to fine particulate (PM2.5) emissions and the effect this has on ambient local air quality. The research will also evaluate the effect that alternative aviation fuels may have on reducing the impact of these harmful aircraft engine emissions, which are associated with greater risks than larger PM10 inhalable particles. A contract to carry out the $500,000, 16-month project has been signed by AEA’s US arm, Project Performance Corporation, and the US Transportation Research Board. According to AEA’s Dr Hazel Peace, around 60 percent of US airports fall in areas that the Environmental Protection Agency has designated as ‘nonattainment’ for fine particulate matter.
“These airports have to find ways to mitigate the levels of PM2.5 particulates and alternative fuels are one method by which they can reduce these emissions,” said Dr Peace, AEA’s Knowledge Leader for Aviation and Co-Principle Investigator for the project.
Up to five US airports will be chosen for the project, which Dr Peace said would form a cross-sample of different sizes in different climatic regions.
“We are delighted to have been selected to undertake this important research and look forward to furthering our understanding of airport emissions for the benefit of not only US airports, but also the broader aviation community,” she commented. “This is a great opportunity for collaborative working across the Atlantic, which will help to broaden the airport and aviation community’s knowledge of the impacts of alternative fuels on PM2.5.”
AEA’s team includes sub-consultant support from KB Environmental Sciences, Synergy Consultants and the Department of Aviation Technology at Purdue University. Technical advisor to the group is Richard Altman, who is also Executive Director of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI).
Altman described the project as “a model” for European and US cooperation. “The significance of this is the use of common tools to carry out evaluations in this area so that we don’t waste time arguing over quantifying the benefits,” he said. “Working together makes it so much easier in terms of getting agreement within the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on policy and regulation.”
AEA operates in the UK, Europe, the US and China, advising the UK government, the EU and major private sector organizations in energy and climate change, air and water quality, risk management, carbon management, resources and waste, sustainable transport and knowledge transfer. AEA was appointed in 2009 to administer the UK’s Quality Assurance Scheme for Carbon Offsetting.