The end of the runway for SAP

Today, most aircraft refuellers are fitted with filter monitors, designed to prevent water and dirt particles from getting into the fuel and engine. While water contamination is relatively rare, when it does happen, contaminants are removed via Super Absorbent Polymers (SAP).

Traditional Fuel Monitor System

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 SAP particles can move into the aircraft during fuelling and can cause operational issues in engines.

Shell was engaged as an independent third-party expert by an airline to investigate why a flight lost thrust control of both engines resulting in a forced landing at twice normal landing speed. The investigation revealed the potential associated risks of SAP-based water filters.

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; industry acceptance of which is anticipated in June 2020, after 12-months of field trials 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. By using an appropriate electronic water sensor extensively tested by Shell and qualified to EI1598, the system can continuously monitor the refuelling process and safely turn 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 our refuelling fleet to Shell Jet Protection at all Shell managed locations worldwide so we can be SAP-free by the end of 2020. Can your supplier claim the same?

Contact us today


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