Qatar Airways, Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Fuel Company (WOQOD), Airbus, Rolls-Royce plc, Shell International Petroleum Company Limited and the Qatar Science and Technology Park recently agreed to research the potential benefits of Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) Synthetic Jet Fuel in aviation engines.
The focus of the research will be on evaluating potential improvements in local air quality, fuel economy and overall reduction in CO2 and other emissions. Specific studies will also look at operational benefits for airlines, such as enhanced payload-range, reduced fuel-burn and increased engine durability.
The properties of GTL Kerosene are largely similar to conventional jet fuel making it a drop-in replacement for today’s kerosene, capable of being used in today’s aero engines, aircraft and airports without any modifications.
GTL synthetic jet fuels are currently being developed to meet international standards required for use in aviation under the auspices of the Commercial Alternative Aviation Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) of which Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Shell are all members.
The Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) is an aviation industry consortium formed to coordinate the development and commercialization of drop-in alternative fuels. Under the auspices of the Federal Aviation Administration, the Certification and Qualification panel of CAAFI has outlined a roadmap for alternative fuels approvals including synthetic fuels derived from the Fisher-Tropsch process.
This roadmap supports the approval of a 50/50 semi-synthetic blend of Jet A/A1 according to the ASTM D 1655 fuel/additive approval protocol by late 2008 and a 100% fuel specification by the end of the decade in time for the start up of the Pearl GTL plant in Qatar.
The synthetic fuels will initially be mixed with standard kerosene to enable the group to model aircraft and engine performance, with a view to exploring the potential of fully synthetic fuels.
Shell, Rolls Royce and Airbus parent EADS are strategic partners of the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP). Some of the activity will be carried out at the QSTP facility in Doha.
Due to start up around the end of the decade, Shell and Qatar Petroleum are currently building the integrated Pearl GTL complex that will help make Qatar the GTL capital of the world. GTL kerosene is an important part of Pearl GTL’s product slate, and being offered to markets as a natural gas derived synthetic component in jet fuel.
Located in Ras Laffan Industrial City in Qatar, Pearl GTL is an integrated project that will produce 120,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of condensate, liquefied petroleum gas and ethane, and 140,000 barrels per day of cleaner, high quality GTL fuels and products. This will include 12,000 barrels per day—equivalent to around 500,000 metric tonnes per year—of GTL Kerosene. Pearl GTL is not only the world’s largest integrated GTL project, but also the largest energy project ever launched within the borders of Qatar.