In Situ Burning of Oil in Ice – Development of Aerial Ignition Systems for In Situ Burn Operations

Scope of Work

Element 1: Development of an Integrated Herder Delivery and Ignition System

The objective is to develop an integrated herder delivery and ignition system to allow both functions to be employed in one flight without landing or hovering to pick up another load. Obtain FAA acceptance of the system for use in the “Restricted Category” of operations.

Desmi, the contractor for this project. One report has been produced “Historical Review and State of the Art for Oil Slick Ignition for ISB” and is available on the JIP website. This review summarises the   technologies available for initiating in-situ burning (ISB). The focus of the report has been on oil spill igniters reported in the available open literature, which encompasses North American and European research and development efforts. Igniter development was completed on June 1, 2016 with DOT/AFT approvals being granted. They are exempt from any transportation controls. The igniter is classified under UN Classification 1.4 S.

Testing of the igniters was conducted at the SL Ross testing lab during the week of June 6, 2016 with nine igniters tested using Alaska North Slope crude oil and several different gelled fuel mixtures. The full scale system is due to be ground tested at an outdoor basin at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) located in Hanover, New Hampshire, USA in August 2016. The system will then be installed in a helicopter and tested in October 2016.  With aerial application of both the herding agent and ignition source (igniter), the herder/burn combination becomes an extremely rapid and effective new response tool, independent from vessel support.

Element 2: Development of a Long Range Aerial Ignition System

The objective is to identify suitable turbine aircraft (fixed wing or rotary), design and evaluate an ignition system based on the results and experience gained in Phase 1, identify and assess the U.S. FAA and EU EASA permitting requirements (largely compatible but some differences) and steps in the process to certification for the long range aerial ignition system, identify suitable onshore test locations where the gelled-fuel application system could be tested and modified and identify testing priorities for the prototype airborne system including the actual ignition of contained and controlled oil targets in a simulated offshore environment.

Waypoint Aeronautical is the contractor for this project and has completed two tasks Identification of Suitable Aircraft that includes:

  • Summary of all aircraft reviewed for the project (Fixed Wing and Helicopters)
  • Large Aircraft-Viable for long range and large payloads but delivery speeds too high for consideration at this time – over 110 knots.
  • Smaller Aircraft-Medium Range, and payloads at the lower end of ideal requirements with adequate delivery speeds below 95 knots.
  • Large offshore Helicopters- Short to Medium Range, lower payloads than fixed wing but more attractive in terms of optimizing delivery speed, visibility, and maneuverability.

Project Certification Plan for FAA and EASA:

Waypoint developed an outline for a certification plan that would be viable for both fixed wing and helicopter aircraft and address the regulations in both the Federal Aviation Regulations, Part 23/25 (Fixed Wing) and Part 27/29 (Helicopters).  Waypoint also investigated the European requirements (EASA) Part 21 and Rules to certify under the Bilateral Agreements (FAA/EASA). Included in Deliverable 2 was additional information on the recommended aircraft to verify the use as an ISB aerial delivery platform.  This information included specific technical details concerning the carriage, delivery of the gelled fuel, and the economic viability of these aircraft.

Waypoint is currently developing a conceptual design for distribution and ignition system (3D model) that would be judged certifiable by the FAA/EASA and working to identify possible test locations.