UAE researchers develop new tech to detect fuel impurities

Impure fuel can be corrosive and damaging to storage tanks and engine components
UAE researchers develop new tech to detect fuel impurities
Dr Rashad Ramzan said he believes the technology is particularly useful for Dubai due to its status as a global travel hub.
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Mon 18 Jun 2018 01:59 PM

Researchers at United Arab Emirates University have developed a new technology that can detect fuel contamination and can potentially help solve a variety of problems faced by the transportation sector, it was announced on Monday.

According to the researchers, the electronic system can detect any impurities in less than one millisecond.

In most cases of fuel impurities, moisture and water content in fuel leads to the growth of fungi and bacteria in the fuel, which makes it corrosive and damaging to storage tanks and engine components.

‘Corrosion can develop in the fuel tanks, which are in the wings of a jet, for instance,” said Dr Rashad Ramzan, associate professor in electrical engineering at UAEU’s engineering college.

“The replacement of tanks is very expensive because they’re not like automobiles – they’re in the wings so detecting fuel impurity can reduce the amount of corrosion in the fuel tanks and of jets, thus extending the engine life. That’s how it started.”

A basic prototype of UAEU’s technology was developed and a patent filed in the US last year. The detection is based on a technique in which the dielectric constant of fuel will change if any impurity is present.

“This is true for the bio, moisture, and water-related impurities that they effect the dielectric constant of the fuel,” Dr Ramzan said. “However, if the impurity is of some special type, which do not change the dielectric constant of the fuel, that will not be detected. But luckily, all the major naturally-occurring impurities change the dielectric constant of the fuel.”

Dr Ramzan added that he believes the technology is particularly useful for Dubai due to its status as a global travel hub.

“It’s important to have this in the UAE because if a jet travels around the world, it will be fuelled in Dubai, Africa, the United States and Asia,” he said.

“At all the airports, the source of fuel is not the same and then, there could be storms, which lead to leakage from rain water, depending on how safe and long the fuel is stored in airport location.

These conditions might create contamination and you also don’t know what happens to the fuel in airports,” he added.

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