A Path to the Formulation of New Generations of Synthetic Jet Fuel Derived from Natural Gas
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Characterization of jet fuels obtained from sources other than crude oil is a modern area of research that is developing continuously to replace available petroleum-based fuels with ‘drop-in’ alternative fuels. Therefore, reliable composition-property relations are developed to correlate the hydrocarbon compositions of formulated synthetic fuels with their properties to be certified for aviation commercial use. Intensive studies have been initiated at Texas A&M University Qatar in collaboration with industry and academia to study synthetic jet fuels derived from natural gas. These studies are being implemented at its Fuel Characterization Lab where the most advanced testing equipment is used and strict Quality Management and safety systems are followed. This study is divided into two tracks. The first track is focused on conducting experimental investigations using in-house formulated synthetic jet fuels derived from natural gas via Gas-to-Liquid technology and Fischer-Tropsch chemistry. Throughout this research work, these fuels will be referred to as Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (SPK). These experimental investigations activities are composed of three phases: the first phase focuses on the influence of SPK building blocks (paraffinic hydrocarbons) on fuels’ properties, the second phase concerns evaluating the role of aromatics and cyclo-paraffins on properties, and the third phase studies the influence of mixing SPK with conventional Jet A-1 derived from crude oil. All of the aforementioned experimental investigations are aimed at building an experimental data bank to assist the efforts of the formulation of new generations of SPKs that meet aviation industry standards. On the other hand, the second track is directed towards the development of mathematical correlations for four properties of high importance to SPK certification. These correlations aim at optimizing fuel composition whereby major physical/chemical properties of ASTM D1655 are met at the lowest cost of composed fuel. The primary findings of this study showed that GTL derived SPK paraffinic constituents can improve certain properties while affecting others negatively, and emphasizing the necessity of aromatics in improving specific properties. Further studies compensating the absence of aromatics and sulfur through blended Jet A-1 revealed a practical solution through jet fuels optimization based on cost and technical effective manners.
Al-Nuaimi, Ibrahim Awni Omar Hassan (2013). A Path to the Formulation of New Generations of Synthetic Jet Fuel Derived from Natural Gas. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from