The National Academies

ACRP 02-23 [Final]

Alternative Fuels as a Means to Reduce PM2.5 Emissions at Airports

  Project Data
Funds: $499,798
Research Agency: Project Performance Corporation/AEA Group
Principal Investigator: Damon Fordham
Effective Date: 7/6/2010
Completion Date: 4/30/2012


More than 60 airports are located in non-attainment areas for PM2.5. As demand for air travel continues to grow, these airports will face increasing pressure to reduce their contribution to local air emissions. Regions of the country where air quality exceeds the limits imposed by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) are required to develop a plan to bring the affected areas back into attainment. Many options (e.g., aircraft technology advancement, efficient operational procedures, and use of alternative fuels) are being investigated to limit airport/aircraft emissions, and a combination of these options is necessary to address existing and future air quality-related environmental concerns effectively. Alternative fuels show promise in reducing PM2.5 emissions from airport sources. As such, research is needed to determine the degree to which these emissions can be reduced through the use of alternatives to petroleum-based fuels in major PM2.5 contributors (i.e., aircraft engines, auxiliary power units, ground transportation, and other combustion sources). Although there is considerable uncertainty in measuring PM2.5 emissions and assessing their potential impact on local air quality, existing methods and modeling techniques can provide airports with an understanding of the relative potential benefits of the use of alternative fuels. The methodologies developed in this project may also benefit future studies as characterization of PM2.5 emissions evolves.

The objective of this research is to estimate the PM2.5 contribution of airports, evaluate the impact alternative fuels may have in reducing PM2.5 emissions from major contributors, and identify the opportunities and challenges that alternative fuels present in reducing airport-related PM2.5 emissions. A case study approach will be the primary means for undertaking the objective.

Status:  The contractor's final report has been published as Web Only Document 13.

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