Scientists monitor emissions from aircraft engines running on sustainable fuels using SCITEK test engine

The National Centre for Atmospheric Science has completed tests to quantify the emissions from the combustion of sustainable aviation fuels.

Researchers compared a standard jet fuel with several different blends of sustainable aviation fuel, including fuels supplied by Neste, and monitored the emissions produced by an engine used on the FAAM Airborne Laboratory’s BAe-146-301 aircraft and a test engine supplied by SCITEK Consultants Ltd using CFS Aero facilities at at Hawarden Airport.

The FAAM Airborne Laboratory, managed by the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), operates a world-class research aircraft that recently made its first flight using a blend of sustainable aviation fuel.

Sustainable aviation fuel is made from renewable biomass and waste resources, and can be used as a direct replacement for jet fuel sourced from crude oil. Blends of sustainable aviation fuel and jet fuel are fully compatible with our FAAM Airborne Laboratory’s BAe-146 aircraft engines and fuelling infrastructure.

Using sustainable aviation fuel, as well as adopting a range of other sustainable practices, is a quick way to reduce carbon emissions from research aircraft operations.

Sustainable aviation fuel has the potential to reduce climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions – such as carbon dioxide – in aviation by up to 80% when compared to standard jet fuel, but it has the potential to benefit local air quality as well.

The ground-based engine testing enabled the team to detect a range of air pollutant emissions created by the combustion of blended aviation biofuel and HEFA fuel – to compare emissions between fuels from sustainable and non-sustainable sources.

The chemical and physical properties of emitted gases and particles – such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and suspended small particles – were evaluated.

Using a sample probe developed by SCITEK, and equipment from Cardiff University and NCAS, emissions were measured within the engine exhaust.

Dr Paul I Williams, NCAS research scientist based at the University of Manchester, describes the sampling setup:

“Sampling is achieved by placing probes within a few centimetres of the engine exhaust, and transporting the sample to a dedicated set of equipment. The sampling system is complex, with flows and temperatures carefully controlled, and typically takes around a week to install.”

Dr Paul I Williams also shares some of the preliminary findings:

“As part of the ground-based engine testing we sampled emissions of ultrafine black carbon, also known as non-volatile particulate matter. Non-volatile particulate matter emissions from aircraft engines at low thrust directly impact local air quality near the earth’s surface, and the people who live and work nearby airports. The testing shows that at low thrust, for every kilogram of blended sustainable aviation fuel burnt, there is approximately 45% less in number and 80% less in mass of non-volatile particulate matter. At cruise thrusts, we found that there were also lower amounts of non-volatile particulate matter being emitted from the burning of sustainable aviation fuel. This indicates that while an aircraft is cruising there would be less non-volatile particulate matter produced, which in turn impacts contrail formation. This could have the potential to reduce the climate warming effects of aviation globally.”

Alan Woolley, Head of the NCAS-managed FAAM Airborne Laboratory, explains that these results will help producers and users of sustainable aviation fuel to better understand its properties, and the economical and environmental consequences of replacing jet fuel:

“For NCAS and the FAAM Airborne Laboratory, the results from this emissions-testing work will inform decisions around investment and the use of sustainable aviation fuel for future airborne science missions around the world.”

Alan Woolley also points out that international aviation regulators will benefit from this new information about combustion emissions from sustainable aviation fuels: “The aviation sector will be able to use our data to improve sector-wide understanding of the gases and particles released from gas turbine engines – of the size used on the FAAM Airborne Laboratory’s research aircraft.”

The engine tests for monitoring sustainable aviation fuel emissions were made possible by a partnership with NCAS and its FAAM Airborne Laboratory*, Cardiff University, Neste, Rolls-Royce, CFS Aero, SCITEK, University of Manchester, and University of York.

*The FAAM Airborne Laboratory’s research aircraft is owned by UK Research and Innovation and the Natural Environmental Research Council. It is managed through the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, and leased through the University of Leeds. The aircraft is supported, modified and upgraded by BAE Systems, operated by Airtask Group, and maintained by Avalon Aero. It is hangared in Bedfordshire, with Cranfield Airport at Cranfield University.

Nusrat Ghani MP, Minister for Industry and Investment Security, visits SCITEK Consultants Ltd. in Derby

We were delighted to welcome Nusrat Ghani MP, the Minister for Industry and Investment Security, to our site in Derby on Thursday last week.

During her visit, the Minister toured our facilities, met with our Managing Director Marios Christodoulou and other staff members, and was shown a demonstration of several research and development rigs developed at SCITEK, including a number developed in collaboration with Rolls-Royce.

The visit also showcased SCITEK’s research turbofan engine, which was first established as part of an Aerospace Technology Institute funded project.

The improvements brought by our custom-built new facility, which was finalised in Dec 2019, were also showcased. The increased space has allowed for the company to bid for larger, higher value projects.

In recent years the company has seen rapid growth in renewable energy projects for transport and power generation, with an increasing number of the systems we have made for our customers specifically aimed at helping them reduce the environmental impact of their products, an area that SCITEK is actively participating in.

Minister for Industry and Investment Security Nusrat Ghani said:

“Our aerospace sector is one of the crown jewels of the British economy, and our well-earned reputation as a global centre of excellence for design and production has meant that the world has come to us for some of the most innovative technology.

“The work at SCITEK Consultants, supported through BEIS’s Aerospace Technology Institute, is a prime example of what this means in practice, and of the big impact smaller businesses can have. Their cutting-edge projects are driving growth and supporting jobs in Derby, and beyond.”

Marios Christodoulou, Managing Director of SCITEK Consultants commented:

“For the last 25 years SCITEK has provided innovative solutions in aerospace and we look forward to continuing to support our native industries as the world transitions to a more sustainable future. We feel that our contributions go some way in sustaining and enhancing UK’s reputation as a centre of excellence and innovation in aerospace.”

SCITEK backs Derby for Great British Railways headquarters

SCITEK is supporting Derby in the bid to be the new home of Great British Railways!

As part of the Government’s national relocation agenda, Great British Railways (GBR) will be the new single public body to run all aspects of the UK rail network to see improved efficiencies.

As the birthplace of the industrial revolution, Derby is a fitting candidate to be the new location for GBR’s headquarters. Home to many innovative businesses, including SCITEK, this would provide improved opportunity for the city to collaborate more closely with the rail sector.

For more information on Derby’s bid visit

At SCITEK, we are looking forward to expanding our work activities in the rail industry and are actively seeking collaborative R&D opportunities in rail.

If your company has an R&D challenge in rail you would like us to solve, contact us now to find out how we can help.

We have moved premises!

We would like to inform our clients, suppliers and partners that we have now moved premises! As of 10th December 2020 you can now find our new building on Victory Road in Derby. Our new address is:

Scitek Consultants Ltd.
152 Victory Road
DE24 8EN

Our contact telephone number will remain the same.

+44 (0) 1332 365 652

Whilst we won’t be able to have the grand opening we might have hoped for due to current Covid-19 restrictions, we are looking forward to welcoming you through our new doors as soon as possible!

SCITEK new location

Enhanced Software Defined Telemetry system for ground and flight testing

Over the past year, SCITEK Consultants Ltd. and TBG Solutions Ltd have been working on a prototype for an exciting new product: an Enhanced Software Defined Telemetry (ESDT) system for ground and flight testing. This new project forms part of an Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) funded collaborative R&D programme.

Currently, gas turbine engine manufacturers make use of analogue radio frequency-based telemetry systems when monitoring strain and temperature measurements in rotating engine parts during ground and flight testing.

This project is focused on exploiting the benefits of moving from an analogue radio frequency platform to a digital radio frequency replacement.

The Enhanced Software Defined Telemetry system provides a superior solution in that its parameters are defined in software and can thus be changed to provide enhanced performance or for re-purposing the system to suit new requirements.

What’s more, the project aims to push the capability of the ESDT system well beyond what was originally conceived in order to achieve at least a four-fold increase in data rate transfer compared to the original analogue systems.

Expanding transmission capacity in this way will allow engine manufacturers to monitor more sensors simultaneously, thus reducing the number of test-runs, saving costs, fuel, and reducing the development time and environmental impacts of testing.

The prototype system will first be demonstrated on SCITEK’s Honeywell ALF 502 engine.

  • To find out more about the specifications of the prototype ESDT system Click here
  • To find out more about SCITEK’s engine testing facility Click here

For more information on the system you can get in contact with SCITEK or TBG Solutions Ltd using the contact details below.

SCITEK Consultants Ltd


+44 (0) 1332 365 652

TBG Solutions Ltd

TBG Solutions

+44 (0) 1246 819 100


We would like to advise all our customers and suppliers that we are continuing to operate as normally as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. We can confirm that SCITEK is following government guidance on social distancing measures and that our office layout has been rearranged to accommodate this. Best practice hygiene requirements are also being enforced and we are reviewing government guidelines on a daily basis.

Our technicians are continuing to support our manufacturing work, whilst adhering to government guidelines. Please rest assured that we are still very much open for business. 

Please feel free to contact us in the normal manner by calling us on the main office telephone number 01332 365 652 sending us an email at:

SCITEK to present at 9th EVI-GTI International Gas Turbine Instrumentation Conference in Graz

SCITEK are excited to announce that they will once again be presenting at this year’s EVI-GTI Conference on Gas Turbine Instrumentation, held in Graz on 20th and 21st November 2019.

Each year the conference attracts a wide international crowd from the fields of measurement and control, looking to gain an insight into the latest innovations in gas turbine measurement and analysis.

SCITEK is delighted to be carrying out two presentations at the conference centred on the topic of test cell concepts and instrumentation.

Catch our presentations between 10.30 and 12.10am on Wednesday 20th November 2019:

  • A GT Facility for the Development of New Sensor and Other Technologies 
  • Advanced Rig for Permanent Magnet Alternator Testing

Click to see the full conference programme here. For more information, please visit the conference homepage at