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US EPA finalizes particulate matter standards for aircraft engines

17 November 2022

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized PM emission standards and test procedures for civil aircraft engines. The standards apply to new type design and in-production civil aircraft engines. The final standards align with the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) PM standards and will take effect from January 1, 2023.

The regulation replaces the existing smoke opacity number standard for the affected aircraft engines with new, non-volatile particulate matter (nvPM) mass and number emission standards. Remarkably, these are the first-ever particle number emission standards issued by US EPA.

The covered engines are subsonic turbofan and turbojet aircraft engines with rated output (maximum thrust available for takeoff) greater than 26.7 kN. These aircraft engines are used by civil subsonic jet airplanes generally for the purpose of commercial passenger and freight aircraft, as well as larger business jets.

The new standards and test procedures are equivalent to the engine standards adopted by the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2017 and 2020. The EPA, as well as the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), actively participated in the ICAO proceedings in which the ICAO requirements were developed.

The main provisions of the adopted regulation include:

The EPA will no longer apply the existing smoke number standard for new engines that will be subject to the PM mass concentration standard after January 1, 2023. The EPA will maintain smoke number standards for new engines not covered by the PM mass concentration standard (e.g., in-production aircraft turbofan and turbojet engines with rated output ≤26.7 kN) and for engines already manufactured.

In addition to the new PM standards, the EPA is migrating most of the existing aircraft engine emissions regulations from 40 CFR part 87 to a new 40 CFR part 1031.

Source: US EPA