Shell Aviation launches only SAP-free refuelling system for industry
Photo taken pre-COVID-19 impact. Photo courtesy of Shell

Shell Aviation launches only SAP-free refuelling system for industry

Shell Aviation, working with filtration experts FAUDI Aviation, has launched Shell Jet Protection, the only Superabsorbent Polymer (SAP)-free refuelling system available to the aviation industry today. 

The technology is also the first SAP-free system capable of utilising existing filter monitor vessels to be adopted into standards by the Joint Inspection Group, the world leading organisation for the development of aviation fuel supply standards.¹

From 2021, aircraft systems that refuel using SAP will no longer be considered airworthy as in rare cases, SAP can leak from water filters into engines during refuelling, causing operational issues.² Shell Aviation will convert its entire fleet of refuelling trucks to Shell Jet

Protection at all Shell-operated locations worldwide, with the aim of being SAP-free by the end of 2020.

“At a time when aircraft operators are focused on the path to recovery, we are committed to supporting our customers and partners across aviation in preparing for the industry’s transition away from SAP-based water filters. Filtration experts at Shell and FAUDI Aviation have been working together to find alternatives to SAP since 2015, well before the Energy Institute’s mandated change in 2017. It is a real point of pride that we have been able to deliver a solution for the industry well ahead of this year’s deadline,” said Thomas de Boer, head of Operations at Shell Aviation.

Shell Jet Protection is specifically designed to protect aircraft and engines from the risk of SAP contamination. It replaces the SAP-based water filter with a separate AFGUARD® Electronic Water Sensor (EWS) and uses it in combination with a Dirt Defence Filter. The AFGUARD® EWS, extensively tested by Shell and qualified to the Energy Institute standard EI15983, continuously monitors the refuelling process and safely turns off the fuel flow to the aircraft, on the rare occasions when water is detected.

As well as safely turning off the fuel flow to the aircraft on the rare occasions when water is detected, Shell Jet Protection can be easily retrofitted into existing vessels and vehicles.

In addition, while SAP filters are changed annually, Shell Jet Protection filters have a five-year service life, providing both financial savings in change-out costs and helping to reduce waste through less frequent filter replacements.

“With the deadline for moving away from SAP fuelling systems fast approaching, it is important that the aviation industry prepares for this change now. We’re proud to have worked with Shell Aviation on the only SAP-free drop in solution to protect aircraft engines from the very real risk that SAP migration poses to engine operations,” said Marcus Wildschütz, president of FAUDI Aviation.

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¹ In August 2020, the Joint Inspection Group (JIG) issued Bulletin 130 which introduces Dirt Defence Filtration (DDF) in conjunction with Electronic Water Sensor (EWS) technology into JIG Standards. Bulletin 130 specifically relates to the FAUDI Aviation DDF and AFGUARD® EWS used in Shell Jet Protection.

² In 2017, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) SAP Special Interest Group declared that SAP should be phased out of all aviation fuel handling systems, following investigations into eight recorded incidents where SAP had caused aircraft operability issues. This finding was upheld by the Energy Institute, which will withdraw its standard on SAP by December 31st 2020.

³ The Energy Institute standard EI 1598 covers design, functional requirements and laboratory testing protocols for electronic sensors to monitor free water and/or particulate matter in aviation fuel.