Multifunctional Luminescent Platforms for Dual-sensing

Thermometry at the Nanoscale: Techniques and Selected Applications Royal Society of Chemistry, UK, pp 493-507

Enhancing the sensitivity of poly(methyl methacrylate) based optical fiber Bragg grating temperature sensors


Polymer optical fiber grating as water activity sensor


SAFUEL - The SAfer FUEL system

The Safer Fuel System

Thanks to the effective contribution of the safe fuel system, air travel is today the safest form of transport worldwide. However, safety can never be taken for granted. Constant effort is therefore needed to maintain the highest safety level, taking into account the global air transport industry and its changing operational context (i.e. new technologies, flight conditions evolution and climate changes). 

All FS systems, subsystems, and components, added over time, have to work together and have also to work with other aircraft (A/C) critical systems such as engine bleed air supply systems and engines. When a new system, subsystem or component is introduced, its impacts on and its interconnections with the other FS systems, subsystems, components and the overall FS are not always thoroughly investigated and anticipated. For instance, the inter-dependence of the current fuel tank inerting system (FTIS) and the fuel venting subsystem is not fully understood. As a result, the complexity of the FS is now jeopardizing the perfect management of failure hazards. Consequently, the approach to add more systems, subsystems, and components to the already complex FS has now reached its limit:

It is not adequate when considering safety as a top priority,

Such an approach to prevent ice and failure will add more complexity to an already highly complex FS (with several new subsystems having to be added for ice and failure hazard prevention),

Such an approach also has negative impacts on A/C operating costs for:

  • Fuel consumption due to FS weight penalty (e.g. 50 kg on a single aisle A/C for the harness made of metal wiring of the fuel gauges)
  • Expensive and time consuming scheduled maintenance. Today FS subsystems require operations to be performed by skilled staff (refueling and operational check before take-off). But, current economic constraints can lead some contractors to outsource tasks to subcontractors who do not necessarily have experienced employees, increasing the risk for human errors.
  • Costly scheduled maintenance to guarantee FS subsystems’ optimum functional level (e.g. the FTIS maintenance cost is in the top five operating costs for airlines). Again, current economic constraints can lead some operators to postpone tasks, increasing the risk for FS subsystem malfunctions.




FP7SAFUEL is supported by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme.

With a project budget of 7.4 M €, the project is implemented during 3 years and a half  (2012- Feb 2016). SAFUEL brings together a consortium of best-of-breed experts from academia and industry - from components to airframer.


SAFUEL Objectives

Addressing air transport constraints and answering needs for a European-led research and technological development in FS safety, the overall objective of the SAFUEL project is to develop, test and validate the Safer Fuel System of the future.

Fully compliant with safety requirements, this Safer Fuel System will be able to deal with more extreme temperatures, stronger temperature gradients, higher humidity and more frequent exposure to lightning, due to:

Future flight conditions

Flight conditions are changing due to the opening of new routes at higher altitude or routes crossing the Arctic. Also, during landing and take-off, faster climbing and approaches are required to optimise the flight routes

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New routes crossing the arctic


More exposure to hazardous weather conditions


Emerging technologies

New, emerging technologies such as the Composite aircraft, the More Electric Aircraft and alternative fuels. 


The Figure above depicts the hazards (fire, ice and FS failure) that are addressed by the SAFUEL project while integrating the needs of future A/C platforms such as usage of alternative fuels, more composite aircraft or more electrical aircraft.


Consequently, SAFUEL has the following overarching technological objectives:

  1. Improve water detection in fuel tank and gain knowledge on icing phenomena in the fuel system.
  2. Enhance flammability protection in the fuel tank and improve reliability, robustness and performance of inerting system.
  3. Remove possible ignition sources from the fuel tank.
  4. Verify and validate full compatibility of the results to Composite Aircraft and More-Electric Aircraft requirements, considering the increased exposure to lightning and induced arcing in these new technologies.
  5. Verify the compliance of results with Alternative Fuel standards.


Key Milestones

Within the SAFUEL project, work is organised to successfully progress through key milestones:Test Bench

  •  A new FS design meeting the severe safety constraints of Composite and More-Electric aircraft
  •  Highly innovative technologies for gauging, fuel circulation and inerting systems
  • The necessary data to support authorities in the release of rules and regulations for safe flight in icing conditions


ZODIAC AEROTECHNICSAIRBUSARTTICAston UniversityItalian National Research CouncilCranfield UniversityInstituto Superior TécnicoNEDAERONLRHamburg University of Technology (TUHH)TELEMAQUniversity of Naples ParthenopeUNIVERSITE DES SCIENCES ET TECHNOLOGIES DE LILLE I
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