The end of the runway for SAP

Today, most aircraft refuellers are fitted with filter monitors that prevent water and dirt particles from getting into the fuel and engine. While water is rarely present in aviation fuel, when it does occur, SAP has been used to prevent it from getting into the aircraft.

The aviation industry has committed to phasing out SAP-based water filters used in the refuelling process due to ongoing safety concerns. This is because under certain circumstances SAP particles, a material similar to that used in diapers, can be released from the filter and into the fuel. In rare cases, these particles move into the aircraft during fuelling and can cause significant operational issues in engines.

It was only after Shell had been engaged as an independent, third-party expert by a major international airline that the potential, associated risks of SAP were discovered. Our role was to investigate why one of their flights had lost thrust control of both engines, resulting in a forced landing at twice the normal speed.

The AFGUARD® solution

Since 2015, Shell has worked with leading filtration specialists FAUDI Aviation to find options to replace SAP. The result is Shell Jet Protection; the first SAP-free system capable of utilising existing filter monitor vessels to be adopted into standards by JIG (Joint Inspection Group).

This new system replaces the current 2-inch filter monitor elements with Dirt Defence Filters and a separate AFGUARD® Electronic Water Sensor (EWS). By using this EWS, extensively tested by Shell and qualified to EI1598, the system can continuously monitor the refuelling process. It safely turns off the fuel flow to the aircraft, on the rare occasions when water is detected.

100% SAP-free by the end of 2020

At Shell Aviation, we’re going above and beyond to protect aircraft engines by converting all of our refuellers at Shell-managed locations worldwide to Shell Jet Protection, so we can be SAP-free by the end of 2020. Can your supplier claim the same?

Contact us today

We welcome all your enquiries and feedback about Shell Jet Protection. Once your request is received, we will try to reply as soon as possible. To make it easier for us to assist you, please kindly provide as much information as possible when completing this form.

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.

It’s Time to Eliminate Traditional Filter Monitors

Superabsorbent Polymer (SAP) is a key component in filter monitors that are in standard use across the industry to ensure fuel quality while refuelling aircraft. However, given the accumulated evidence against SAP, the industry committed to begin phasing out the use of SAP in the refuelling process. On 23 July 2020, Rob Midgley, Global Quality and Technical Manager with Shell Aviation was joined in conversation by Andreas Schmidt, Manager Jet Fuel Quality at Lufthansa to discuss this vital issue facing aviation: our industry's need to replace water filters in refuellers that contain Superabsorbent Polymer (SAP). Click here to learn more.

Learn More

More in Aviation Fuels

Shell AeroJet

Our Shell AeroJet is a premium aviation fuel offering major benefits to pilots, operators and owners of turbine aircraft in Canada and Brazil. Shell AeroJet minimises or eliminates problems previously associated with the build-up of water in fuel tanks on business jets, turbo-prop aircraft and helicopters.

Civil Jet Fuel

Today's kerosene jet fuels have been developed from the illuminating kerosene used in the early gas turbine engines. These engines needed a fuel with good combustion characteristics and a high energy content. 

Avgas

Avgas is the type of aviation fuel used in small piston engine powered aircraft within the general aviation community. These aircraft are predominantly used by private pilots and flying clubs and for tasks such as flight training and crop dusting.