GTL kerosene approved for aircraft

Standards development body ASTM International has released a specification that approves the use of Gas-to-Liquids kerosene blends for powering commercial aircraft.

Standards development body ASTM International has released a specification that approves the use of Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) kerosene blends for powering commercial aircraft.

The publication of the specification follows two years’ research and discussion by the ASTM specification group, a consensus body consisting of producers, equipment manufacturers and consumers of aviation fuel.

The specification – dubbed ASTM D7566 ’Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons’ – approves the use of jet fuel containing up to 50 per cent GTL Kerosene. The blends will be known as GTL Jet Fuel.

GTL Kerosene is one of five GTL products that will be produced in commercial volumes by the Pearl GTL production facility, currently under construction by Qatar Petroleum and Shell. Once finished, the project will produce around one million tonnes of GTL Kerosene per annum.

Construction of the Pearl GTL is planned for completion around the end of 2010, with project ramp-up then taking about 12 months. The GTL Kerosene is planned to be available from 2012.

Shell is also working as part of a consortium with Airbus, Qatar Fuel Company (WOQOD), Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Science and Technology Park, and Rolls-Royce to research the potential benefits of using GTL Jet Fuel in aviation engines.

GTL Jet Fuel has lower emissions of particulates and other pollutants that affect air quality. GTL Jet Fuel also has a slightly higher energy density per kilogram than oil-derived kerosene, meaning that a lower weight of fuel may be required for each kilometre flown. The consortium is working to quantify this potential fuel saving among other work.

The Pearl GTL facility will convert natural gas into liquid fuels, lubricants and chemical feedstocks. In addition to GTL Kerosene, it will produce GTL Gasoil, a diesel-type fuel, GTL Base Oils, which are used to manufacture high quality lubricants, GTL Normal Paraffin, which is used in the production of detergents and GTL Naphtha, a feedstock for plastics products.