Airport System Moves Fuel and Data

The new Hong Kong Airport is located on the island of Chep Lap Kok—most of which was built through a massive land reclamation effort. The airport can handle 35 million passengers annually with an ultimate design capacity of 87 million.Like the airport itself, the aviation fuel supply system was built from scratch.


The new Hong Kong Airport is located on the island of Chep Lap Kok—most of which was built through a massive land reclamation effort. The airport can handle 35 million passengers annually with an ultimate design capacity of 87 million.

Like the airport itself, the aviation fuel supply system was built from scratch. Its automation solution, supplied by Control Systems International (CSI, Lenexa, Kan.), encompasses more than just moving fuel. The airport's master systems integration plan called for a facility-wide information network. The fueling system moves critical data such as system status and alarms into the central Airport Operations Database (AODB), instantly accessible from anywhere in the facility.

The system's physical plant comprises two berths for barge unloading at a remote jetty located on Sha Chau Island, 12 km from the airport; dual undersea pipelines; and 12 tanks on Chep Lap Kok with a total capacity of 140 million liters. It also includes a hydrant system underneath the airport tarmac that feeds fueling take-off points adjacent to terminal-side aircraft parking stands, as well as loading racks for trucks serving remote stands.

CSI's system supervises 2,000 I/O points housed in 51 distributed panels, with the logic executed in redundant, PC-based controllers connected to the panels with redundant communications links. The network linking the controllers to the system's PC workstations is also fault-tolerant, so the failure of any component will not interrupt data transfer.

The nerve center for the system is the Tank Farm Control Room. There, operators supervise fuel movements from jetty to tarmac using CSI's User Configurable Open System (UCOS) software. To initiate a receipt, the operator simply selects a pipeline and the receiving tank. Automatic routing logic in UCOS positions all valves and starts the batch receipt. To deliver fuel to the planes, UCOS monitors pressure and flow within the hydrant system to meet demand, while simultaneously optimizing pump use.

Open UCOS software was tightly integrated with third-party packages to provide specialized functions, such as leak detection, fire detection, and drainage. All functions are accessible as a single monitoring and control system via UCOS screens. The fuel receipt subsystems at remote Sha Chau Island are connected to the main system via a microwave link. Also integrated into the system is CSI's Fuel-FACS (Fuel Accounting and Control System), a business solution capable of tracking bulk movements, inventories, and load rack transactions for the 12 suppliers that deliver fuel to more than 50 airlines.

CSI supplied the system on a turnkey basis, including procurement and integration of the third-party packages. During the installation and commissioning phase of the project, CSI managed a staff of 50 contractors to meet the fast-track schedule for the airport opening.

Like motorists who simply expect gas to be available at their familiar corner station, airline passengers give little thought to how their plane is fueled. CSI's system ensures that they can concentrate on making it to the gate on time. Its sophisticated logic delivers fuel to the right plane at the right time and central alarm reporting keeps unexpected problems from turning into delayed flights.

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