As part of Brussels Airport’s Strategic Vision 2040, Brussels Airport Company (BAC) wishes to obtain a realistic picture of ultrafine particulate (UFP) emissions when aircraft take off and land. This is a study for which VITO is using its expertise at BAC’s request.

Ultrafine particulates (UFP) are particles in the air that are smaller than 0.1 micrometre. Each particle is 10,000 times smaller than a millimetre and cannot even be seen with the naked eye. UFP is therefore much smaller than the particulate matter we usually talk about in connection with emissions. At the moment, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has still not laid down a specific international limit for permitted UFP emissions.

VITO already carried out an initial study in the vicinity of the airport in 2015 on behalf of the Flanders Environment Agency and mapped out the UFP distribution.

During two periods in 2018, measurements were continuously performed at eight different measuring points at and around the airport at BAC’s request. The researchers wish to use these measurements to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of UFP concentrations at different locations in the vicinity of the airport. That is why the measurements were carried out both during the summer period (June–September 2018) and during the winter period (November 2018–January 2019). After all, air traffic and weather conditions are completely different in these two periods.

In 2019, the results of these measurements will be linked to the flight movements maintained by Skeyes (formerly Belgocontrol). This allows UFP concentration profiles and other parameters – such as aircraft types – to be linked.