Air Transport Institute for Environmental Sustainability


AirTIES is a university-approved research center at Purdue focused on advancing the state of new, sustainable aviation fuels towards the goal of full implementation. AirTIES has its home in the Niswonger Aviation Technology Building located at the Purdue University Airport, where it is actively supported by several faculty members and graduate students.

The AirTIES Research Center leadership:

• Director:  David L. Stanley
• Chief Scientist:  Gozdem Kilaz
• Director of Research:  Richard Simmons
• Director of Engineering:  Mary Johnson

Prof. Denver Lopp, whose vision for cross-disciplinary collaboration in this research space led to the concept of AirTIES, is stepping back as Co-director of AirTIES effective July 1, 2014. Denver will continue to serve AirTIES in the role as Industrial Partner coordinator.

The Center gains great strength as a result of collaborative relationships with other Purdue researchers in several disciplines, including:

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• Madhi M. Abu-omar (ABE)
• Maureen McCann (Energy Center)
• Nathan Mosier (ABE)
• Bernard Tao (ABE)
• Wally Tyner (Agricultural Economics)

Two aerospace companies, Aero Engine Controls (AEC) and Swift Fuels, are industrial partners for the AirTIES Research Center. These companies share a common interest in aviation fuels, hire Purdue graduates, and offer internship and other study opportunities to Purdue students. AEC designs and manufactures turbine engine controls for Rolls Royce, and is clearly an interested party to the development and testing of new aviation fuels. Swift Fuels has developed new aviation fuels, both for piston engine and turbine engine applications.

The combination of knowledge, skills, and abilities that come about as a result of these collaborative relationships is powerful and energizing in the overall effort to develop, test, and implement new aviation fuels.

The effort to develop new aviation fuels is complex and challenging in that aviation and aerospace place greater demands and restrictions for quality and specifications on the fuel than do other sectors of transportation. While the challenge is great, the need to establish alternatives to current fossil fuels is clear. On the one hand are concerns with climate change, particularly that part of it attributable to CO2 emissions occurring with current fuels; on the other hand are security interests, which are primary to the Department of Defense. The fuel development effort spans across several disciplines, including agriculture, agricultural and biological engineering, chemistry, chemical engineering, and technology, where AirTIES is rooted in the Aviation Technology program at Purdue.