Commercial aircraft fly at very high altitudes. To provide the passengers and the crew with a safe amount of breathable oxygen, the cabin must be pressurized. Cabin pressure is generated with bleed air from the compressor sections of the jet engine, which are upstream of the combustion sections. This air is very hot and must be cooled by heat exchangers before it is fed into the air conditioning units, which cool it even further.
At high altitudes, the air has significant ozone concentrations. Therefore, it must be treated accordingly to protect occupants from adverse health effects such as headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, and eye, nose and throat irritation. This is done through ozone converters.
Odor-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as kerosene or organic acids can also enter the aircraft cabin. These are caused by exhaust gases, engine oil or hydraulic system leaks, or deicing agents. Such odors can lead to so-called fume events and thus to detour or delayed flights. Contamination of bleed air is considered by some stakeholders to be a health concern.
BASF is now introducing UpCore™. This new service replaces the catalyst core of an ozone-only converter with an ozone-VOC catalyst. The housing of the original converter can continue to be used. The dual-function technology catalytically removes VOCs from the cabin air while maintaining ozone removal performance.
A Vendor Service Bulletin for UpCore, which is fully approved by Airbus for use on the Airbus A320 series, will be issued shortly.
- BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany