Mobil Oil Australia leading the industry to improve jet fuel safety

Improving jet fuel filtration during refuelling at airports in Australia and New Zealand
The Mobil Oil Australia (Mobil) aviation team are leading the industry to improve jet fuel filtration during refuelling at airports in Australia and New Zealand.

Typically, super absorbent polymer has been used to remove water from jet fuel in on-airport refuelling equipment.

However, the International Air Transportation Association recommended that this type of filtration type be phased out after finding that super absorbent polymer particles could sometimes be detected in jet engine fuel management components, posing a risk to the engine performance.

“The aviation industry has been working to find a low-cost and effective alternative to the super absorbent polymer filters,” said Rick Williams, Mobil’s Melbourne Airport Manager.

“Ideally we’ve focused on finding new technology that can simply drop-in to replace the current filters without needing significant system adjustments to reduce both cost and risk associated with broader changes.”

Mobil has identified the only successful drop-in replacement solution to be adopted in aviation standards to date, which combines a Faudi AFGUARD Electronic Water Sensor and Faudi Dirt Defence Filters. 

“Through this process, we discovered a number of software improvement opportunities and made a number of recommendations to the system manufacturer, Faudi for how they could more robustly integrate the electronic water sensor in the refuelling equipment,” said Rick.

“Faudi updated their system software to accommodate our recommendations and have used Mobil’s recommended design as the basis for improving other customer systems.”

The Mobil aviation team thoroughly tested the improvements made through a number of trials completed this year, sharing the results with manufacturer Faudi and the Joint Inspection Group, so that the industry can benefit from any potential safety or risk reduction improvements.

“We’re really proud to be leading the aviation fuel industry in this area, particularly given all the challenges for our sector this year. It is likely that Mobil’s design basis for Faudi AFGUARD Electronic Water Sensor vehicle integration will become the industry standard.

“After completing our trials, we kicked off a retrofit program across Melbourne, Adelaide, Auckland, and Wellington Airports earlier this year. We are working to replace the super absorbent polymer systems in these locations in early 2021.”