Schiphol and TNO collaborated with Corendon and KLM to test the use of mist to reduce the number of ultrafine particles in the air at and around the airport. The parties at Schiphol are carrying out research to see if using this technology can improve local air quality. Mist is already a proven method against dust and particulate matter in the construction industry. Schiphol is investigating whether this technology can be applied to ultrafine particles in aviation. The idea is for ultrafine particles to bind to mist droplets, which then get heavy and fall to the ground in droplets. This means that the ultrafine particles can no longer disperse and be inhaled.
The test was carried out using a Corendon plane at a KLM hangar’s testing facility. The mist was sprayed in a variety of ways while the engines were running at high power, like during take-off and landing and when they are switched on. While this was happening, TNO measured the number of ultrafine particles.“
Local air quality is important, to neighbours and to employees. This experiment means we are gaining an insight into the effect of mist on ultrafine particles in the air. We’re learning about its potential for the turning on of aircraft engines and for take-off on the runway. If our expectations are confirmed, we can use that knowledge to refine the technology and continue working on the use of mist at the airport.
Carolijn Schoofs, Head of Innovation at Royal Schiphol Group
Ultrafine Particles Action Plan
Schiphol has in cooperation with aviation sector parties an active policy to reduce ultrafine particle emissions and launched an action plan in 2019. This action plan contains measures to lower emissions produced by traffic to and from the airport, at the airport and by aircraft. It also includes measures to improve air quality, such as the electrification of ground-based activities, sustainable taxiing, investing in sustainable aviation fuels and studies to enhance knowledge about ultrafine particles.
The current experiment was set up based on previous tests done by Schiphol, Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and the Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR). After analysing the collected data, the airport expects to be able to say whether the use of mist has sufficient potential to reduce concentrations of ultrafine particles produced by aircraft. If expectations are confirmed, further development and scaling up of the technology will be considered in the coming years, as will how the innovation can become part of daily operations at Schiphol.