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Assessing aViation emission Impact on local Air quality at airports: TOwards Regulation

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AVIATOR (Assessing aViation emission Impact on local Air quality at airports: TOwards Regulation)

Reporting period: 2019-06-01 to 2020-11-30

Emissions from aircraft have adverse effects on the air quality in and around airports, contributing to public health concerns within neighboring communities. AVIATOR is adopting a multi-level measurement, modelling and assessment approach to develop an improved description and quantification of relevant aircraft engine emissions, and their impact on air quality under different climatic conditions.

AVIATOR is developing and will deploy across multiple airports, a proof-of-concept low-cost sensor network for the monitoring of ultra-fine particles (UFP), total PM and gaseous species such as NOx and SOx. These low cost sensors are specifically designed to provide robust data from a wide spatial area encompassing airfields and surrounding communities. The transport and impact of emissions from aircraft engines and APU will be monitored within 3 international airports through the deployment of a high fidelity measurement system accompanied by the network of low cost sensors.

The measurement campaigns will be complemented by high-fidelity modelling of aircraft exhaust dynamics, and microphysical and chemical processes within the plume. Inter-connected process models will be used and resulting outputs will help to validate new parameterizations which are expected to enhance existing airport dispersion models and provide stakeholders with an enhanced understanding of aircraft emissions in and around airports.

Working with the regulatory community, AVIATOR will develop improved guidance on measuring and modelling the impact of aircraft emissions with specific reference to UFP. Acknowledging the uncertainty surrounding health impacts of UFP, AVIATOR is working with the public health community to develop methodologies for the representative sampling of aircraft emissions. AVIATOR is being supported and advanced through a collaboration with NRC and ETS. It also has additional international visibility and acceptance through Advisory Board participation of USA and Canadian partners.
The high fidelity measurement of PM and gaseous emissions from aircraft engines is predicated on the development and deployment of two systems – the Baseline and the Comprehensive systems which will be used across all campaigns within the test cell and on-wing. The baseline system has been developed to house a low cut-point (<7 nm) condensation particle counter (CPC) measuring both catalytically stripped and unstripped exhaust aerosol number concentration in conjunction with a size measurement (>5 nm). The Comprehensive system is based on the EASA reference system for nv-PM measurements but includes additional systems for the measurement of Total PM, VOC, SOA gaseous precursors and gases (including SO2, NOx and CO2)

The Covid pandemic has resulted in a significant restructuring of IBERIAs fleet. IBERIA have retired all A340 aircraft (expected to be used for the on-wing emission test campaigns) ahead of their anticipated schedule. These issues coupled with the inability of researchers to travel and work remotely in Spain during this reporting period have resulted in delays to the initial on-wing testing. Currently, in order to continue with the original plan of using the A340 (T500) for the on-wing test campaigns the airfield at Ciudad Real Central Airport which is located approximately 230km south of Madrid will now be used.

The Engine Exit / Near-field traversable Probe, used in on-wing measurement campaigns, has been designed, developed and commissioned, and it is ready to be used in the planned campaigns starting in June / July 2021.

The impact of COVID has led to serious delays to the development of the LCS (Low-Cost Sensors), however, the Partners involved in the Work Package for the ambient measurements and sensor network development, have finalised a prototype. The hardware build is complete and the final phase of the testing is expected to be concluded in January 2021.

Measurement locations of ambient PM and gaseous concentrations at Madrid-Barajas international airport there have been subject to significant analysis, modelling work and discussion. INTA have established with AENA alternative sites outside of the main perimeter, to the South of the airport, which is within the plume of the airport. With the LCS distributed within the airport and high fidelity measurements within the main plume, this site satisfies the original objective of the call to look at the impact of aviation in and around airports.

INTA, supported by UoM, has specified and sourced a prefabricated building for housing the high fidelity equipment for WPs 2, 3, and 4 and the EASA reference system for WPs 2 and 3.

The planned two seasons for the high fidelity measurements have been revised due to the delays relating to COVID, and still have a degree of uncertainty. The first high fidelity measurements are now scheduled for Spring/Summer 2021, with the winter campaign now planned for November – December 2021.

In regards of mathematical and numerical modelling of plume microphysics, chemistry and dynamics Work Package, a literature survey has been completed which has provided an extensive review of existing publications on research relating to aircraft particulate matter measurements, and modelling. This outcome provides a comprehensive survey on literature available on ultrafine particles and measurements in airport vicinity.

Different aircraft and engines have been designed in CAD (Computer-Aided Design) to be used by the modellers. Three 3D computational domains representative of different aircraft positions around the airport were also designed for the modelling purpose. Moreover, calculations with LASPORT have been carried out to compare time-resolved modelled and measured concentrations of PM below the approach path of individual aircraft at Zurich Airport.

Madrid Airport has been set up for LAQ (Local Air Quality) dispersion calculations with LASPORT. In addition, Lanzarote Airport has been set up for LAQ dispersion calculations with LASPORT. Screening calculations for Madrid Airport have been carried out with LASPORT (emission and dispersion). Annual mean concentrations due to aircraft traffic for the year 2018 and the pollutants NOX, HC, PM10, and non-volatile PM number were calculated. These help to identify hot spots and suitable measurement locations for the campaigns carried out within WP4.

MMU with subcontractor EASA has developed a roadmap to identifying potential gaps in aircraft engine emissions regulations.
It is expected that the reach and significance of AVIATOR impact will be multifaceted and enduring. The work programme has been devised and developed to specifically meet the needs of its stakeholder community and it is envisioned that outcomes will significantly contribute to: i) developing new knowledge and understanding of aircraft emissions on air quality in and around airports; ii) supporting future regulatory developments; and iii) meeting the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

Impact of reach and significance and the innovation potential of AVIATOR will be realised over a number of years. At this mid-point juncture of the project which has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic it is perhaps premature to report on significant advances. However, the pathway to impact and innovation has been identified and is shaping the actions and decisions of the consortium as a whole.
Measurement systems for piggyback and dedicated testing at engine test bench