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State-of-the-art aircraft engine emissions measurement system in accordance with ICAO standards and recommended practices

System Description

The Swiss Mobile Aircraft Emission Measurement System (SMARTEMIS) is a state-of-the-art mobile emission measurement system for particle and gas emissions from aircraft turbine engines. The prototype of SMARTEMIS was built by the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) and installed in the engine test cell at SR Technics, Zurich airport. The system was further developed by Empa/SR Technics, who also integrated particle measurement and made the system fully mobile in early 2017. The development and construction of SMARTEMIS is closely linked to the establishment of the first global non-volatile particulate matter (nvPM) standard for aircraft engines by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The nvPM sampling and measurement part of SMARTEMIS is fully compliant with the ICAO nvPM certification standard. Besides the standardized instruments for nvPM mass and number measurements, SMARTEMIS includes instruments for the measurement of particle size distribution, smoke number, the regulated gaseous pollutants (CO, HC and NOx) and an unregulated gaseous pollutant (SO2). Coupled with a unique 2-axial traversable exhaust sampling probe installed at SR Technics, SMARTEMIS has been used to collect emissions data for a variety of in-service turbofan engines.

SMARTEMIS and ICAO Emission Regulations

SMARTEMIS is one of three independently-built reference systems for nvPM measurements worldwide. In 2013, to demonstrate the maturity of the nvPM measurement methodology developed by the SAE E-31 committee for aircraft engine emissions measurement (SAE Aerospace Information Report 6241), SMARTEMIS was deployed in the first-ever nvPM measurements of a representative engine at conditions compliant with the future ICAO nvPM standard in the test cell at SR Technics. Later test campaigns also focused on the effects of fuel composition (including sustainable aviation fuels like HEFA) on nvPM emissions and provided valuable data to CAEP for the development of correction equations for nvPM emissions certification. The measurement campaigns at SR Technics as well as recent deployments at engine manufacturers' facilities abroad have contributed to the development of an nvPM emissions database of representative aircraft turbofan engines in production and the future limit lines for the CAEP/11 nvPM mass and number standard.

The ICAO 2019 Environmental report, presents a summary of the new Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) for nvPM emissions to be considered for adoption in March 2020. These SARPs concern nvPM measurements, reporting, and nvPM limits for new and in-production aircraft engines. The new regulations aim to prevent backsliding in the development of turbine engine combustion technology and would motivate improvements in emission performance of new engines.

Field Measurement Campaigns

Due to the robust modular design of the system, SMARTEMIS can be transported for emission tests outside of SR Technics. The various modules can either be loaded onto a trailer designed for the system or, for longer distances, packed in customized boxes for transport by air/road cargo. Examples of the emission tests include measurements on the Dassault Falcon 900EX federal jet in Payerne, Switzerland (October 2017) and measurements at engine manufacturers in Ukraine (September 2018) and Russia (October 2018, August 2019).


In collaboration with FOCA and SR Technics, our group (the research unit Meteorology, Environment and Aviation) continues to apply SMARTEMIS in generating turbine engine gaseous and particulate emissions data. In addition, we continue to optimize and upgrade SMARTEMIS while participating in both international and local collaborative projects.

SMARTEMIS projects

FOCA-funded research project:

EU-finanzierte Kooperationsprojekte im Rahmen von Horizon 2020:

  • RAPTOR with goals to evaluate uncertainties in engine nvPM emission measurements, review airport air quality modelling approaches, assess nvPM health impacts, and inform future regulations; and 
  • ACACIA aimed at understanding the impact of aviation on climate and to create a scientifically sound knowledge base of methods for mitigating aviation climate impacts.

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