Fuel Meetings, SAF, and ASTM D381
Hello again! Here in Indiana spring is beginning to show itself. The soy beans in the local fields are beginning to pop up, the birds are singing, there are flowers in the woods. The other day I saw actual, for real, white trillium on my lunch time walk. We had rain last night and it smells like spring.
This week, May 3-6, are the annual Coordinating Research Council Aviation Fuels meetings. This year is virtual, but given that the ramping up of COVID restrictions completely cancelled the meetings last year, it is an improvement. And it is not too late to join us for good technical update presentations on all things aviation fuel. Head over to 2021 CRC Aviation Committee Meetings | Coordinating Research Council (crcao.org) to register.
You may notice the banner photo is of aviation biofuel. Things are really ramping up quickly on the sustainable aviation fuel topic. Our industry has been working for several years on alternatively sourced aviation fuel, so we feel well positioned to support this accelerated interest. One take away I'll leave with you the reader - the term "SAF". If you are reading the posts, you have likely seen the acronym and I want to make sure you are aware of the difference in meaning depending on the discussions. When discussing "green" aviation, especially in articles from the EU, you will see "SAF" for aviation fuel meaning "sustainable" aviation fuel. This is directed specifically at those fuels containing a measurable amount of bio-derived hydrocarbons up to and including 100% SAF. The idea is to leverage a low carbon source such as green waste or algae for the feed stock and move to "zero emissions" aviation. A laudable goal. But be careful, there is also "SAF" meaning "synthetic" aviation fuel. In this case, the alternative source may or may not be from a low carbon feedstock. For example, Fischer Tropsch fuel produced from coal is definitely a synthetic aviation fuel, but would not be considered a green sustainable aviation fuel. While the data on tail pipe emissions from aircraft using 100% synthetic fuels have shown a reduction in particulate emissions, this is not the same thing as the "zero emissions" showing up in the popular press. So while a bio-fuel is a synthetic aviation fuel, a synthetic fuel may not be a "sustainable" one. And as always, any fuel being approved for use has been rigorously tested and standardized before being allowed in the field.
We have a new 'toy' at Baere. While it has never been Baere's intention to be a full service laboratory, we do occasionally add very specific, more niche laboratory tests. We have always worked with bulk testing facilities in an effort to keep the testing costs low for our customer as the bulk labs have a much lower overhead and higher throughput. And we will continue to do so. But sometimes there are tests that are not common, or that you want to tweak a little. The big test houses may not have the test you want or are unwilling to test under different conditions than those at which the high volume testing is run. Baere tries to support those one-off sorts of tests or those non-standard parameters.
In that vein, we have a new test for aviation gasoline; ASTM D381 Air Jet testing. This is a test for the residual gum content of highly volatile materials like aviation gasoline which can be evaporated by hot air. We are NOT adding the steam jet capability, so at least for now, we are not able to run your turbine fuel samples. Watch the services page for more details on costs, volumes, and requirements as they become available shortly.
In the meantime, try to take some time to enjoy yourself this spring. Stay safe, keep healthy, and continue to wash those hands!!