Reliability of fuel supply at airports is an important factor that has major impact on operational and financial viability of flights. Aviation fuel farm is a vital part of airport fuel infrastructure. It is required for supplying aviation fuel to aircraft. Most airports have adequate fuel farm infrastructure; however, some airports still possess insufficient fuel farm facilities. Insufficient capacity and supply disruptions owing to inadequate aviation fuel farm facilities could result in non-availability of jet fuel to aircraft. Non-availability of jet fuel owing to insufficient fuel farm infrastructure may result in diversions, cancelled flights, tech-stops for refueling, and payload limitations. Aviation fuel farms are constructed in the vicinity of airports. They need to follow certain regulations for fuel spill prevention, countermeasure requirements, and flow control. A typical aviation fuel farm consists of jet fuel storage tanks, fuel loading & unloading facilities for road tankers, hydrant refueling system (HRS), fire-fighting systems, plant maintenance system, and office buildings.
One of the most important parts of aviation fuel farms is hydrant refueling system (HRS), which serves fuel to the aircraft stationed at the airport terminal. HRS system consists of the network of underground pipelines that are connected to the main fuel pumping station. The pumping station is further connected to the storage tanks for an uninterrupted supply of aviation fuel. Aviation fuel storage tanks and fuel transfer medium should be made from stainless steel, mild steel, or aluminum to avoid corrosion and provide high durability.
Fire-fighting system in an aviation fuel farm should consist of foam based fire extinguishing system, dry chemical powder based fire extinguishers, carbon dioxide based extinguishers, fine water spray, and sand. Fuel distribution system based on fuel hydrant system should be equipped with fueller system to refuel aircraft that are not parked at the apron of the existing airport. Operations in the aviation fuel farm are controlled by the means of terminal operational control system. It is a fully automated system that controls and monitors fuel terminal operations by the means of SCADA, and central control PLC system. An emergency fuel shut-off system is also installed at aviation plane & apron areas, fuel tank farms, and fuel transfer facilities. Aviation fuel farms are also equipped with emergency shut off system which have specific sensors and shut-off buttons to handle critical situations.
Growth in aviation infrastructure, lack of effective fuel management, and increase in rate of globalization around the globe are expected to drive the global aviation fuel farms market. Usage of aviation fuel farms for reliable aviation fuel supply and improved safety in fuel handling are anticipated to replace existing fuel supply infrastructure. This, in turn, is likely to encourage the development of aviation fuel farms at airport vicinities around the globe. Asia Pacific accounted for significant share of the aviation fuel farms market in 2016. It was followed by North America and Europe. Latin America and Middle East & Africa are projected to be highly lucrative regions of the aviation fuel farms market in the near future owing to the rise in trading and business development in these regions. High cost of equipment, high capital investment, and expensive technology are some of the restraints of the global aviation fuel farms market. Expansion in economy, rise in trading, and growth in domestic aviation traffic are expected to drive the aviation fuel farms market in Asia Pacific.
Key players operating in the global aviation fuel farms market are Air BP, Shell, Alt Air Fuels, Lanza Tech, Sky NRG, Solazyme, and Statoil.
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