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Initially, the focus of the Centre is on four projects: two on the development of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs); one on zero carbon aircraft propulsion systems; and one on noise mapping for low-noise aircraft fleets.

Trinity and Ryanair launch sustainable aviation research centre

Researchers at the centre will develop sustainable solutions for an industry striving towards a profitable, carbon-neutral future, with greener offerings for jet-setters and a liveable planet for all.

Determining the sustainability of SAF through analysing the amount of lifecycle greenhouse gases emitted through its production. Read More.

Currently, there is no single standard to calculate embodied CO2 emissions from SAFs. The uncertainties of the calculation methods are not well-established. Given the high price of SAF, this uncertainty is a risk to the aviation sector. To bring more certainty to the market, Trinity researchers are performing Field-to-Aircraft life cycle analysis for four specific SAF candidates. This involves many inputs specific to the technical detail and geography of every step in the production process, from feedstock analysis through to processing and distribution. The methodology created, and LCA CO2eq value determined, will be submitted to the Gold Standard for independent certification.  It is critical that airports receive already blended SAF, which can be treated as Jet-A1, without any adjustments to existing infrastructure. Trinity’s research will enable this and, for the first time, enable the SAF user to know exactly how much CO2 they are saving by using specific SAFs. Trinity holds Gold Standard approval enabling it to create standard methodologies and provide independent certification of SAF life cycle emissions.  Gold Standard is a Sustainability Certification Scheme approved by CORSIA. Through rigorous analysis, our research will mitigate the risk of using less robust CORSIA or fuel manufacturer assessments. The analysis tools will identify low cost, low CO2 feedstocks and quantify impacts of land use change, ensuring the sustainability criteria are assessed in line with the A4E Destination 2050 roadmap.
Project team: Dr Stephen Dooley, Liam Mannion, Aron Bell.'

Devising pre-screening tools for early accelerated certification of early SAF candidates, allowing more SAF options to the marketplace. Read More

Certifying new SAF candidates currently costs millions of euros, requires tens of thousands of litres of fuel, and takes years of testing. For fuel manufacturers to commit the investment needed to produce an approved SAF, methods are urgently needed to screen and establish confidence in new SAFs at early stages of development.

Trinity’s researchers are creating and deploying SAF pre-screening tools to secure investment for early stage SAF candidates before the costly ASTM certification stage. Using just 1ml of a candidate new SAF, researchers are using specialised scientific measuring equipment to create a suite of predictive fuel property models. This knowledge will inform the industry on compatibility with ASTM certification at each stage of investment and up-scaling. This knowledge will create confidence in aviation equipment manufacturers that SAFs can move to blends close to 100%, rather than being limited to 50% blends with fossil Jet-A.
Project team: Dr Stephen Dooley, Tiarnan Murphy.

Evaluating the operating impact of zero-carbon aircraft propulsion systems. Read More

Energy technologies are advancing rapidly and there is much uncertainty about the configurations of future propulsion systems. To develop effective business models, operators need more information about the performance, efficiency and emissions of overall propulsion systems that will be significantly more complex.

Our research is developing simulation tools to assess and optimise different configurations of propulsion systems, fuels and airframes. ‘Low order’ models will be developed to rapidly simulate system components (e.g. fuel cells, batteries, hydrogen storage, motors, gas turbines) under flight conditions. By incorporating these fast models into an overall aircraft model and simulating thousands of configurations of propulsion system, airframes and missions, the impact of future technology on fuel efficiency, weight and emissions will be investigated. Modelling will also quantify the impacts of uncertainties in new technologies and identify the key system components that are most sensitive for the transition to low-carbon and zero carbon propulsion.

Project team: Professor Stephen Spence, Dr Charles Stuart, Conor Gallagher, Aodhan Buggy, Jakub Pyszka

Noise mapping for the minimal noise aircraft fleet. Read More

Despite the increase of residents living near airports, the aviation industry does not have the modelling tools to quantify the societal impact of a low-noise aircraft fleet in terms of noise reduction for European citizens.
Our researchers are using computational models that predict the aircraft noise footprint and forecast noise trends near airports, to develop a complete evaluation platform for assessing novel noise mitigation concepts across a fleet of aircraft. When developed, this platform will evaluate the commercial viability of new concepts that have already been deemed technically feasible from a performance perspective but need to be assessed in terms of their environmental impact around the airport. The platform will also inform assessments of the relationship between aircraft noise and health enabling the societal impact for European citizens to be quantified.

Project team: Dr John Kennedy, Karina Einicke