Focus on Filtration Specifications

A discussion of the standards and specifications that apply to the filtration and removal of water in aviation jet fuel at fuel farms and into-plane refueling.

For filter/separator vessels, the specification required is API/IP 1581 specification and qualification procedures for aviation jet fuel filter/separators (Fifth Edition). There are three categories within this fifth edition specification:

  • Category C (for commercial aviation fuels)
  • Category M (for military aviation turbine fuels)
  • Category M100 (for thermal stability enhanced
    military aviation turbine fuels)

In 2007, we will see the following updates and new specifications to API/IP aviation filtration-related specifications.

A. API/IP Specification 1581 5th Edition Update

Addendum (published December 2006)

  1. The major change is a new allowance for low water systems (Type S-LW), for which effective performance against 0.5 percent water (rather than 3 percent water) will qualify the system.
  2. As explained in the new Information Annex (Annex B), the users should determine for themselves when it is appropriate to use Type S-LW Systems at their locations. According to the Information Annex, “a user should conduct an appropriate risk assessment before specifying Type S or Type S-LW.”
  3. This means that it is the customer who will make the decision as to which type of system to specify. This determination is not for the manufacturer to make.

B. API/IP Specification 1596 - for the design & construction of aviation fuel filter vessels, issued in November, 2006.
C. API/IP Recommended Practice 1550 - maintenance and delivery of clean aviation fuel. Intended for aviation filter users/system designers (first edition in development, expected in 2nd quarter 2007).
D. API/IP Draft Standard 1598 - for electronic sensors for monitoring aviation fuel quality (in development).
E. API/IP Specification 1599 - for two-inch dirt defense filters (in development—publication expected in mid-2007).

In October 2006, the Energy Institute (EI, formerly Institute of Petroleum—IP) issued a bulletin advising operators not to use filter monitors in fuel containing any fuel system icing inhibitor (FSII). Additionally the bulletin advised operators to take extra precautions to develop a comprehensive system to control dirt and water in aviation fuel. This comprehensive system would include housekeeping procedures at all points along the fueling pipeline.

The following updates relate to water absorbing monitors:

  1. IP Draft Standard 1583 fifth edition has been issued and will be valid through November 1, 2008. This is to give the manufacturers opportunity to develop new products.
  2. All filter manufacturers confirmed at the meetings that ZERO ppm of Super Absorbent Media (SAP) migration from the filter monitor is not achievable.
  3. Two presentations at IATA Fuels Conference clearly showed that previously reported problems with blinding of aircraft engine filter cartridges were not due to SAP migration as suspected, but were caused by organic mud and microbial contamination.
  4. The IATA Fuel Monitor Task Force report will be out early this year, at which time a new task force will be formed.

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