Qatar Airways To Use Cleaner Jet Fuels

Kind of jammed up here today trying to get out of town next week for vacation but got work of this initiative being done by Qatar Airways and thought I should get something up on it right now. I will come back and do an interview with them for you later but for now please read this info on alternative fuels in jets.

Taking Leadership in the Application of Cleaner Alternative Fuels Qatar Airways is a travel industry innovator in the study of the potential commercial use of jet fuel derived from natural gas as a means of reducing the impact of aviation on local and global air quality.

We have partnered with companies such as Qatar Petroleum, Shell, Airbus, Rolls Royce, Qatar Science & Technology Park and Woqod with the view to test the use of cleaner burning alternative fuels on commercial flights. Qatar Airways and its partners are striving to make a jet fuel blend including Gas to Liquids kerosene a cleaner-burning fuel of choice for the air transport industry in the future.

The world’s largest Gas to Liquids production plant is currently under construction in Qatar under a development and production sharing agreement between Qatar Petroleum and Shell, with production scheduled to start around the end of the decade. Qatar Airways aims to be the first airline in the world to operate a commercial flight using jet fuel containing Gas to Liquids kerosene.

In February 2008, an Airbus A380 conducted the first test flight of a commercial aircraft using GTL Jet Fuel, flying from Filton, UK, to Toulouse, France. The study partners are driving industry initiatives (CAAFI) to include GTL Jet Fuel in jet fuel specification (50% blend) (with ASTM approval expected mid 2009).

Under the study agreement Qatar Airways intends to operate a commercial flight using GTL Jet Fuel during 2009, becoming the first airline to do so. Qatar Airways also intends to be the first airline to operate regular commercial flights using GTL Jet Fuel, assuming commercial agreements can be reached. GTL Jet Fuel will be produced in Qatar from around 2012.

GTL Jet Fuel will likely be used in a semi-synthetic 50/50 blend with conventional jet fuel and can be used without any modifications to existing aircraft and engines. GTL Jet Fuel is virtually free of Sulphur and aromatics. As a result the aircraft engine will emit less Sulphur Oxide and fewer particulates during operation. The environmental benefits of this are being quantified and are likely to include improved air quality around airports.

GTL Jet Fuel has higher energy content by weight compared to conventional jet fuel – i.e. it has a lower density. It also offers improved thermal stability, meaning engines would be able to run hotter. Both of these characteristics may lead to potential fuel economy and improved payload/range performance which could result in a limited CO2 benefit for specific aircraft/route combinations. This is being studied.

These cleaner-burning fuels could become a major factor in future air quality improvement initiatives for the entire airline industry, further proving that Qatar Airways’ product leadership extends far beyond passenger comfort.

But we do not stop there. Currently Qatar Airways is working on its own roadmap towards alternative fuels which also includes biofuels.

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