Focus on jet fuel hydrant systems at airports

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Courtesy of Energy Institute (EI)

It has been a productive 12 months for the Hydrant Sub-Committee of the Energy Institute's (El) Aviation Committee. Martin Hunnybun, El Technical Team Manager - Fuels & Fuel Handling, explains.

As reported in the September 2012 issue of Petroleum Review. the recent past has seen much emphasis on highlighting/ communicating the existence of standards and recommended practices for aviation fuel handling, and fuel handling equipment. As part of this industry initiative, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). a specialised agency of the United Nations, has issued its Doc 9977 Manual on civil aviation jet fuel supply to the national aviation authorities of its 190 member states for their consideration and uptake. The ICAO manual 'sign-posts' 15 of the Energy Institute's (El) technical publications, including three which specifically relate to hydrant systems and have been worked on in 2013.

Hydrant Sub-Committee

The El's technical work on jet fuel hydrant systems is the responsibility of the Hydrant Sub-Committee, within our safety theme. The sub-committee comprises technical specialists from Air TOTAL International, AirBP, Airlines for America, ExxonMobil, Kuwait Petroleum international Aviation Company and Shell Aviation. It is primarily concerned with the development of good practice materials relating to the pipe systems buried beneath airports that are used to transfer fuel from the airport fuel tank farm/depot to each aircraft stand. Such systems are commonly found at larger commercial airports, providing an efficient and safe means of fuel transfer,

During the last 18 months, members of the Hydrant Sub-Committee, in conjunction with Richmond Hannah {Aviation Refuelling Compliance Solutions P/L), completed the preparation of three publications - El 1560, 1585 and 1594.

El 1560

A new El publication. El 1560 Recommended practice for the operation, inspection, maintenance and commissioning of aviation fuel hydrant systems and hydrant system extensions (first edition), was issued in February 2013. The sub-committee had been developing recommendations for automated hydrant integrity testing systems, and this work was expanded in early 2012 to encompass the wider aspects of hydrant system operation, inspection and maintenance, specifically with a focus on the preservation of fuel quality and cleanliness. Topics covered include the requirement for an inspection and maintenance programme, and then recommendations for pipes, valves, pumps, motors, controls and emergency shutdown systems, methods for maintaining hydrant system cleanliness, hydrant system checks, hydrant system integrity testing, cathodic protection and commissioning procedures. The recommendations are supported by an extensive series of detailed 'task cards' and example forms.

Preparation of the material required a significant investment of industry resources, including via the stake-holder consultation on a draft in the autumn of 2012, The industry specialists who participated in the review are thanked for their significant contributions.

An overview of the content of 1560 was provided to attendees of the IATA Fuel Forum in Bangkok in November, and this has since been presented to attendees of recent Joint Inspection Group workshops. All owners, operators and users of jet fuel hydrant systems at airports worldwide are encouraged to assess how their current operations can be optimised in line with 1560 recommendations.

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