The FLITES consortium aims to enhance turbine-related R&D capacity in both academia and industry by opening up access to exhaust plume chemistry with penetrating spatio-temporal resolution. This will underpin a new phase of low-net-carbon development that is already underway in aviation, based on bio-derived fuels, entailing extensive R&D in turbine engineering and combustion, and fuel product formulation.
The project is a £2.8m commitment over 4 years by the Universities of Manchester, Edinburgh, Southampton and Strathclyde, blue-chip companies Rolls-Royce and Shell, SMEs Covesion, Fianium and OptoSci, and the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It started in May 2012.
FLITES brings together and builds upon the expertise of the UK’s world-leading academic groups in chemical species tomography (Manchester and Edinburgh), fibre-lasers (Southampton), and gas-detection opto-electronics (Strathclyde), and marries those to its industrial strengths in aero-engine manufacture and aviation fuel technology.
In the exhaust plume of an operating aero engine, the project will demonstrate:
- Novel fibre lasers adapted for gas sensing, at near-IR and Mid-IR wavelengths, to underpin all of the goals below;
- Imaging of the spatial distribution of soot, using laser-induced incandescence (LII), in a planar tomographic set-up;
- High-speed tomographic imaging of the spatial distributions of CO2 and unburned hydrocarbons, using the new gas detection technology of Tunable Fibre-Laser Absorption Spectroscopy, TFLAS;
- Line-of-sight measurement of NO, also using TFLAS;
- The above to be performed on a target engine that employs leading-edge technology, using advanced bio-fuel formulations.
In addition to the normal means of publication, the consortium will disseminate its work to the relevant industrial and academic R&D communities by organizing dedicated workshops.