50-50 Blend Of Synthetic, Conventional Jet Fuel
An A340-600 operated by Qatar
Airways completed the world's first commercial passenger flight
powered by a fuel made from natural gas Monday, paving the way for
a viable alternative to oil-based aviation fuel for airlines.
The aircraft, equipped by Rolls-Royce Trent 556 engines, flew
from London's Gatwick airport to Doha, Qatar, in a trip lasting
more than six hours.
The A340-600 utilized GTL (Gas-to-Liquids) Jet Fuel - a 50-50
blend of synthetic GTL kerosene and conventional oil-based kerosene
fuel. GTL kerosene is cleaner than its oil-derived counterpart
currently used with commercial aircraft and results in lower
The flight is the latest step in more than two years of
scientific research by a consortium consisting of Airbus, Qatar
Airways, Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Science & Technology Park,
Rolls-Royce, Shell and Qatar Fuel into the benefits of using GTL
Jet Fuel to power commercial aircraft. In February 2008, this
consortium marked a milestone when a test Airbus A380 became the
first civil airliner in commercial aviation history to fly using
GTL Jet Fuel.
Monday's successful flight opens the door for the launch of GTL
- expected to be available in commercial quantities during 2012 -
on a world scale for the first time. Alternative fuels like GTL
contribute to the diversification of the aviation fuel supply and
help improve air quality around busy airports.
The State of Qatar is set to become a world-leading producer of
GTL kerosene through its Pearl GTL project, currently under
construction by Qatar Petroleum and Shell, which is targeting the
output of approximately one million tons annually from 2012.
Last month, 50-50 GTL Jet Fuel was fully approved as safe for
use in civil aviation by ASTM International, one of the largest
voluntary standards-developing organizations in the world. This
standard paves the way for eventual 100 percent synthetic jet fuel
approval, and signals further progress towards reducing aviation's