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In the last decade, fuel tank inerting systems have transcended from a niche market of military aircraft into wide scale proliferation on commercial airliners. In fact, almost all commercial airliners have a fuel tank inerting system onboard, many of which include systems and components supplied by Parker Aerospace. These systems reduce the flammability risk inside the fuel tank by supplying an inert gas into the space above the liquid fuel. These systems rely on a source of pressurized air, typically engine bleed air, to provide the feed stock for the inert gas.
As the airframers of commercial airliners move away from bleed air systems and toward more electric aircraft in the future, an opportunity is presented for a fuel tank inerting technology that does not rely on high pressure air. Moreover, this same inerting technology could be applied to other aircraft in which bleed air is in limited supply or unavailable altogether, such as military rotorcraft, small commercial transports, and business jets.
This opportunity is setting the stage for the next evolution in fuel tank inerting systems: catalytic inerting. In 2016, Parker Aerospace and Phyre Technologies, Inc. signed an exclusive agreement to develop Phyre’s patented ullage-recirculating catalytic inerting technology for aerospace applications. Since that time, Parker has been actively developing the system and its components for high performance, high durability, and low weight. Significant advancements have been made in the development of the catalytic reactor, condenser and other components. At the same time, Parker has grown its testing infrastructure and analytical capabilities to support a full-scale program.
Fuel tank inerting systems perform the critical function of reducing the flammability potential of the mixture of gases in the ullage space above the fuel in aircraft fuel tanks. Catalytic inerting advances fuel tank inerting technology beyond the current applications, in which inert nitrogen gas is generated from high-pressure engine bleed air inside of an air separation module (ASM).
Read our previous blog post that discusses how catalytic inerting technology differs from today’s traditional ASM-based method.
Most contemporary commercial airliners use engine bleed air for many purposes ranging from cabin pressurization and environmental control systems (ECS) to anti-icing, water and hydraulic system pressurization, and ASM-based fuel tank inerting. While an ASM-based inerting system uses far less bleed air than the ECS and anti-ice systems, the extraction of bleed air from the engine results in decreased engine efficiency. The larger engines of a typical commercial aircraft have the capacity to supply bleed air for these subsystems; but other aircraft types – helicopters, turboprop-powered transports, business jets, and newer more-electric aircraft – have less bleed air to spare.
A primary benefit offered by catalytic inerting technology is that it requires no engine bleed air. Circulation of ullage gas through the system and back to the fuel tank is provided by a low-power consumption electric blower.
The blowers and other electrically powered components in the closed-loop catalytic fuel inerting system call for only a modest amount of electricity. Although the electrical power required by the system is supplied by the engine generator, the relatively low power consumption of the catalytic inerting system results in less parasitic power loss to the engine than ASM inerting systems. This is a principal reason why catalytic inerting is ideally suited for aircraft applications where there is little or no engine bleed air available, especially rotary wing aircraft and more-electric commercial aircraft.
The demanding missions that helicopters fly – whether military or commercial – require the aircraft to have available as much power as possible. By eliminating the need for engine bleed air to drive fuel tank inerting, catalytic systems directly support the need for greater range as well as higher payload and takeoff weight.
A catalytic fuel inerting system is largely self-contained and can occupy a smaller envelope than its ASM-based counterpart. These features enable a catalytic inerting system to be neatly packaged as a line-replaceable unit (LRU) and facilitate ready integration within the airframes of both new helicopter platforms and existing ones. Furthermore, the general shape and positioning of helicopter fuel tanks enables close coupling of the catalytic inerting system with minimal external plumbing and structure.
As part of its future vertical lift (FVL) modernization efforts, the United States Army is developing its Future Attack and Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) and Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) programs, targeted to be operational before 2030. Parker’s catalytic fuel inerting systems is ideally suited to such applications.
“Our development program for catalytic fuel inerting systems is proving that the technology will be a viable option for future aircraft programs, especially vertical lift platforms. We are looking at all options to successfully bring this technology to the marketplace.”
— John Hayden, business development director, Parker Aerospace Fluid Systems Division (FSD)
Parker Aerospace engineers have been maturing catalytic fuel inerting by iteratively proving and improving the technology. The Parker team is working to reduce system complexity, increase component durability, and fine-tune the catalytic reactor for maximum performance and life - all while keeping a close eye on procurement and maintenance cost targets.
Stay tuned to the aerospace blog for updates to the Parker Aerospace vision of the future for aircraft fuel tank inerting systems.
Leading with purpose
After more than a century of experience serving our customers, Parker is often called to the table for the collaborations that help to solve the most complex engineering challenges. We help them bring their ideas to light. We are a trusted partner, working alongside our customers to enable technology breakthroughs that change the world for the better.
Follow Parker Aerospace on LinkedIn and keep up with the latest products and technologies Parker is developing for flight control, hydraulic, fuel, fluid conveyance, lubrication, and pneumatic systems.
This article contributed by Bryan Jensen, senior principal engineer, Parker Fluid Systems Division.
21 Oct 2020
Biopharmaceutical manufacturers have traditionally implemented bulk final filtration and bulk dispensing as two separate unit operations – with multiple operators assigned to carrying them out. However, this approach can be inefficient in a number of ways.
Drug product needs to be transported between the two unit operations. This movement of product and materials not only wastes operators’ resources but also increases the time taken to complete the final stage of the manufacturing process. There is also a risk of product loss and contamination during the transition between two unit operations.
Implications for biopharmaceutical manufacturers
The manual nature of bulk final filtration and bulk dispensing as two separate unit operations also has implications for biopharmaceutical manufacturers.Involving multiple operators in the process increases the potential for variability and human error. This can lead to product losses and in the event of contamination, the loss of entire batches – with the resulting financial losses, reputational damage and market shortages of life-changing drugs.
Human error can also lead to inaccuracies; for example, more product being transferred to a bottle or bag than is required can have a significant impact on production and can be financially damaging too – especially given the high value of the product when it reaches this stage.
There are also cost implications of the man-hours dedicated to the two unit operations – as well as the fact that specialist staff may be more effectively employed elsewhere in a process, rather than being used to manually operate pumps and valves.
Using a separate open process for bulk filling after filtration can expose a sterilized batch to potential contamination and given the product is in its most concentrated and valuable format at this time, the consequences can be grave.
How can efficiency be improved?
Parker’s SciLog® FD (Filter and Dispense) System automates, standardizes and encloses final bulk filtration and dispense operations. The system brings bulk final filtration and bulk dispense into one unit operation, which is optimized for both functions.
The SciLog® FD System removes the variability and potential for human error that is inherent in manual processes and it allows manufacturers to apply pre-defined recipes for dispensing. Stages such as sampling and product recovery are automated, while in-line pre and post-use filter integrity testing is built into the system.
How does the SciLog® FD improve efficiency in bulk final filtration and bulk dispense?
Additional advantages Reliability
Gain a greater understanding of the SciLog® Filter and Dispense FD at the SciLog® suite at Parker Bioscience Filtration’s site at Birtley, UK.
You can undertake interactive demonstrations with the SciLog® FD system and run trials to determine how the equipment can be used to optimize your processes. This can also be carried out virtually through a video link.
Contact us to book into the SciLog® suite.
This post was contributed by David Heaney, market development manager, Parker Bioscience Filtration, UK
Parker Bioscience Filtration specializes in automating and controlling bioprocesses. By integrating sensory and automation technology into a process, a manufacturer can control the fluid more effectively ensuring the quality of the final product.
15 Oct 2020
In today’s foundries, facilities engineers and maintenance personnel are challenged with effectively balancing increases in throughput with reductions in costs. Maintaining the optimum performance of baghouses is a critical area of focus as they can have a significant impact — either positive or negative — on the output of a foundry.
Learn how a U.S. foundry venting multiple processes with a shaker baghouse solved high differential pressure, short bag life, costly maintenance and reduced furnace airflow problems. Download the case study.
A foundry located in the U.S. was experiencing high differential pressure and short filter bag life in their baghouses, resulting in costly maintenance and problems with reduced furnace airflow. Specifically, the 3-compartment Bahnson Hawley/Norblo shaker baghouse did not provide adequate airflow to the four induction furnaces, a scrap pre-heater system, and a mag inoculation station it vented. The filters were blinding with fine particulate, and the resulting high-pressure drop across the collector reduced the original design airflow of 40,000 CFM to 28,000 CFM.
The foundry knew they needed expert advice on how to solve these issues before it was too late. They turned to Parker because of the company’s deep experience in air filtration design and equipment. Parker’s specialists determined that a system like the one installed at the foundry required a design air volume of 55,000–60,000 CFM — well beyond the capabilities of the old shaker-style baghouse.
Parker’s engineering team designed a pulse-jet cleaning conversion for the existing housing incorporating the high efficiency of BHA®PulsePleat® filter elements. In the design, the existing housing had the maintenance-intensive shaker mechanisms and thimble tubesheet removed and retrofitted with a flat tubesheet for installing the top-loading BHA®PulsePleat® filters from inside a walk-in clean air plenum. The design called for only 336 BHA®PulsePleat® filter elements to meet the calculated design air volume at a 4:1 air-to-cloth ratio.
BHA® PulsePleat® filter elements can revitalize your dust collection system, by solving the most common baghouse problems: lack of capacity, short filter life, and low efficiency. PulsePleats can increase the filtration surface area in your present baghouse system facilitating higher throughputs, longer life, and higher efficiencies. Benefits include:
The foundry decided to move forward with Parker Hannifin’s recommendation. The system was installed to the design specifications and the improvements quickly proved worthy of the investment. Some of the key findings included:
Effective business management starts with identifying inefficiencies and implementing real-world solutions that provide maximum benefits through increased production and reduced operational costs. By installing Parker’s innovative BHA® PulsePleat® technology, this foundry reduced furnace airflow problems, extended bag filter life and reduced high maintenance costs.
To learn more about the application, download a copy of the case study “
US foundry venting multiple processes with a shaker baghouse solved high differential pressure, short bag life, costly maintenance and reduced furnace airflow problems.”
This blog was contributed by the Industrial Gas Filtration and Generation Team.
15 Oct 2020