Elimination of Microbial Contamination in Kerosene and Kerosene Based Aviation Fuels by Filtration Approach Utilizing Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes Med
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AbstractMicrobial contamination in kerosene based aviation fuels has been a problem for the USAF since the 1960's. Antimicrobial effect of earlier used fuel system icing inhibitor (FSII) became an initial solution to this problem, but later, such fuel additives were banned due to their extreme toxicity towards humans. Newer FSIIs, being more eco-friendly, do not possess the antimicrobial properties of their predecessors. Moreover, in the absence of any biocidal additive, the persistence and tenacity of the problem of microbial presence in kerosene based aviation fuels aviation fuel is ever-growing. Microbial contamination in fuel leads to filters clogging, fuel degradation, and accelerated corrosion. The damage caused along with the increase in maintenance cost because of this is unacceptable. Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) hold great promise for solving filtration issues for this application, through their unique properties of small-diameter, high-surface-area, high adsorption, strength, stability in fuel and antimicrobial effects. The successful completion of Phase 1 of this project will provide a multi-walled carbon nanotube based filtration media which will show complete microbial removal, as well as, extraordinary biofilm inhibition properties when compared to a conventional filter media, while delivering similar or lower operating pressure drops. Also, such a filter media is expected to last much longer than a conventional filter media. BENEFIT: The societal benefits include cleaner fuels, longer injector/ filter/ engine life, better combustion of aviation fuel, lower maintenance costs, new jobs, new products for export, and much more. The anticipated market size for such a product is greater than $500M in a current total fuel filtration market of greater than $2B annually. The USAF is expected to be a major customer for the type of products obtained through this research and development. Likely customers, other than US military are large oil and gas companies, commercial aviation industries, and fuel storage/ transportation/ distribution agencies. Such a product would find application at various places in the supply chain network of aviation fuel, in particular and other fuels, in general. Also, the research proposed here would also lead to future research in removing microbial contamination in fuels other than kerosene based ones, e.g. biodiesel and ultralow sulfur diesel fuel.
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