Drop In Aviation Fuels Fire Safety

US firefighters were challenged with the introduction E85 fuels in 2008 a number of material and tactical changes were necessary by the fire service to ensure that interactions with synthetic fuel combustion and typical firefighting foams did not lead to dangerous situations for firefighters. The variety of drop-in aviation fuel blends with synthetic pathways there introduces significant opportunity for similar differences negatively impacting the safety of the public and first responders. The FAA ARFF, due to the nature of short time and extreme urgency of effective response to preserve lives, will require characterization of the response challenges and training to provide incident commanders with awareness of the changes needed to make timely, effective and safe adjustments to tactical response. Recent advancements in alternative jet fuels and unleaded aviation gasoline replacement candidates have brought to our attention the need to investigate the efficiency of currently utilized fire extinguishing agents at the airports and aircraft. Firefighting foam has been the most commonly used extinguishing medium in the past years. Still, there are multiple varieties in the types of concentrates applied as well as the standards by which the foams get approved. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), FAA (Mil-F-24385), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) all have their test protocols for evaluating the capability of these foams. This results in multiple issues with technical variations. Thus, there is a need for evaluating the current certification protocols and specifications to alleviate compatibility concerns. The situation is further complicated by the recently approved alternative aviation fuels as the chemical differences are expected to impact the foams’ firefighting properties. With FAA’s goal of “1 billion gallons of sustainable drop-in jet fuel per year by 2018” in mind, Purdue research team had initiated tackling this imminent challenge by investigating the flammability and ignition properties of these novel fuel components with the ultimate goal of correlating fuel chemistry to fuel fire safety. Most recently, ASTM (organization formerly known as the American Standards for Testing and Materials) had approved two additional alternative aviation fuel blends via standard D7566: SPK-A (synthetic paraffinic kerosene with aromatics – up to 50vol%) and ATJ (alcohol to jet by GEVO Inc. up to 30vol%). Likewise, it is expected that the renewable, aromatic, drop-in fuels known as ReadiJet® (ARA’s patented Catalytic Hydrothermolysis process and CLG’s hydro-processing technology that converts any non-edible oil directly into jet fuel) will be approved via ASTM as the first neat (100vol%) aviation fuel. Our project will be analyzing these three additional drop-in aviation fuels for fire safety characteristics.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $117,985
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Aviation Administration

    William J. Hughes Technical Center, Atlantic City International Airport
    Atlantic City, NJ  United States  08405
  • Project Managers:


  • Performing Organizations:

    Purdue University, Polytechnic

    401 N. Grant Street
    West Lafayette, IN  United States  47907
  • Principal Investigators:

    Kilaz, Gozdem

  • Start Date: 20170306
  • Expected Completion Date: 20181001
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01661831
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability
  • Contract Numbers: 12-C-GA-PU-050,066, 12-C-GA-PU-069
  • Files: RIP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Mar 2 2018 1:25PM