Characterization of Gas-Phase Organics Using Proton Transfer Reaction Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry: Aircraft Turbine Engines

Nonmethane organic gas emissions (NMOGs) from in-service aircraft turbine engines were investigated using a proton transfer reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometer (PTR-ToF-MS) at an engine test facility at Zurich Airport, Switzerland. Experiments consisted of 60 exhaust samples for seven engine types (used in commercial aviation) from two manufacturers at thrust levels ranging from idle to takeoff. Emission indices (EIs) for more than 200 NMOGs were quantified, and the functional group fractions (including acids, carbonyls, aromatics, and aliphatics) were calculated to characterize the exhaust chemical composition at different engine operation modes. Total NMOG emissions were highest at idling with an average EI of 7.8 g/kg fuel and were a factor of ∼40 lower at takeoff thrust. The relative contribution of pure hydrocarbons (particularly aromatics and aliphatics) of the engine exhaust decreased with increasing thrust while the fraction of oxidized compounds, for example, acids and carbonyls increased. Exhaust chemical composition at idle was also affected by engine technology. Older engines emitted a higher fraction of nonoxidized NMOGs compared to newer ones. Idling conditions dominated ground level organic gas emissions. Based on the EI determined here, we estimate that reducing idle emissions could substantially improve air quality near airports.