Aviation Fuel Contamination at Nashville International Airport

Updated March 2021

After “2” years of operation the separator is working well & Menzies Aviation has cut down on filter changes dramatically.
– Michael H. Venturelli Sr, Meccon Industries Inc.

We have already noticed a significant reduction in traditional filter use compared to last year based on the first 2 months of operation.

– Darrel Johnson, GM, Menzies Aviation

Black Powder Solutions (BPS) Magnetic Separator is the first line of defense for removing Black Powder™ contamination from airport aviation fuel supply.

The airport receives ~80% of its jet fuel from a large US refined products pipeline system. The high cost of traditional filtration driven by a need for improved product quality required Meccon Industries to employ BPS magnetic separation for contamination removal.

BPS Magnetic separation technology cleans contaminate down to and below 1 micron in particle size. This allows for significant OPEX savings due to the massive reduction in single use filters.

The removal of pipeline corrosion and erosion contamination (black powder) below 1 micron also improves the aviation fuel quality to exceed increasingly stringent customer fuel cleanliness requirements.

Figure 1. Magnetic Separator installed upstream of tankage at airport fuel facility.

Figure 2. Contamination collected on magnetic elements from one 4,400 barrel batch of jet fuel over 3.5 hours. The unit has a magnetic array capable of holding up to 425 pounds of contamination before cleaning is required.

Lab Results

The contamination removed from the Magnetic Separator during the 1st cleaning was sent out for lab analysis. That analysis indicated that (i) much of the black powder contamination consisted of iron-based compounds typical of pipe scale (Table 1) and (ii) 20% of the contamination was at or under 1 micron in size with the median particle size at 37 microns (Table 2).

In excess of 10% of the black powder was under 0.5 microns, which would have passed the last stage of conventional filters and accumulated in the jet fuel tankage and further downstream. Subsequent 0.8 micron Millipore patch tests done both upstream and downstream of the Magnetic Separator identified an improvement in fuel quality and cleanliness (Figure 3). As of late February 2021, Michael H. Venturelli Sr of Meccon Industries, Inc. informed us that after a cleaning cycle – “The separator is working well and Menzies Aviation has cut down on filter changes dramatically”.

Figure 3. 0.8 micron Millipore Patch Test Results from fuel samples taken upstream and downstream of Magnetic Separator.
Figure 4. Black Powder Contamination removed from the Magnetic Separator Elements after cleaning cycle.

XRD/EDS Analysis Results

Table 1. XRD quantitative analysis results stating composition of jet fuel contamination.

Table 2. Particle size distribution stats.
Figure 5. SEM microscopic image of particulate contamination.

Figure 6. Histogram that illustrates particle size distribution.

Black Powder Solutions work with the Nashville International Airport showcases another example of BPS’ ability to reduce OPEX and provide reduction in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) risks. The Magnetic Separator System continues to operate with the same high efficiency as it did when installed.

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