Today at the Dubai Airshow Qatar Airways, Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Fuel Company (WOQOD), Airbus, Rolls-Royce plc, Shell International Petroleum Company Limited and the Qatar Science and Technology Park signed an agreement to research the potential benefits of Synthetic Jet Fuel in aviation engines. The objective of this study is to address the feasibility and potential benefits of using Gas to Liquid (GTL) synthetic jet fuels. GTL is a technology that takes natural gas and converts it to liquid kerosene. 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. 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.
GTL synthetic jet fuels are currently being developed to meet international standards required for use in aviation under the auspices of the industry-wide Commercial Alternative Aviation Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) of which Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Shell are all members.
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 state-of-the-art QSTP facility in Doha.
Akbar Al Baker, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Airways, said: “Qatar Airways has one of the youngest, fastest-growing and most fuel efficient fleets in the world and is committed to being in the forefront of environmentally-friendly synthetic fuel development for commercial aviation".
Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Director, Oil & Gas Ventures at Qatar Petroleum said: “Qatar Petroleum, as a major player in the global gas industry, is committed to contribute to the improvement of the local and global environment. GTL, as a cleaner jet fuel, offers strong environmental benefits and opens another important outlet for our natural gas to the international market.”
“Airbus is committed to becoming an eco-efficient enterprise, growing and adding value with less and less impact on the environment,” says Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders. “No one industry has all the answers, and as companies pool together in a united front to research options for alternative fuels, we are delighted to co-operate with Qatar, Rolls-Royce and Shell. We are engaging in a project aimed at understanding the potential of GTL Kerosene Fuel to power aircraft. For Airbus, co-operation remains key to finding technology driven solutions that address global and local environmental challenges facing us.”
Mick Forey, Senior Vice President – Airlines for Rolls-Royce, said: “Rolls-Royce has a long history of investing in technologies to improve the environmental impact of its products and we have an important part to play in developing an understanding of what the industry can achieve. We are committed to working with partners in the aerospace sector and are proud to be part of this initiative to deliver a further step change in the environmental performance of our civil aero engines.”
Sjoerd Post, Vice President Shell Aviation, said: “As Shell investment in the Pearl GTL plant shows, we are committed to the region and developing cleaner fuels for our customers. We are excited to be working along side major aviation industry manufactures and customers to determine ways of identifying the benefits of using synthetic fuels in jet fuel faster, and with a more holistic approach.”
"WOQOD is proud to join this group of world-class companies and institutions in this unique effort to further develop the potential of synthetic jet fuel", stated Mr. Nasser Ibrahim Fakhroo, Director of Operations at WOQOD. "We believe we are witnessing the dawn of a new era for the world led by Qatar as the potential that GTL has to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions is very significant", added Mr. Fakhroo.
Dr Tidu Maini Executive Chairman of QSTP: “We are delighted that the consortium will be carrying out aspects of this important project in Qatar and recognises our mission to create a hub for research in the region.”
Due to start up around the end of the decade, Shell and Qatar Petroleum are currently building the world-scale 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 annum - 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.
Doha-based Qatar Airways operates a modern fleet of 58 all-Airbus aircraft to 79 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Far East, Indian subcontinent and North America. The fleet size will almost double to 110 aircraft by 2015. Qatar Airways is one of only five airlines in the world with a Five Star ranking for service and excellence awarded by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency. Skytrax also named Qatar Airways’ cabin crew as Best in the Middle East for the fifth year running in 2007 following a survey of more than 12 million passengers. During the 2006/07 financial year, Qatar Airways carried more than 8 million passengers worldwide. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com
Qatar Petroleum (QP), formerly Qatar General Petroleum Corporation, is a state-owned corporation established in 1974 responsible for all phases of the oil and gas industry in Qatar. The principal activities of QP and its subsidiaries and joint ventures cover exploration, drilling and production operations, transport, storage, marketing and sale of crude oil, natural gas liquids, liquefied natural gas, Gas to Liquids, refined products, petrochemicals and fertilizers. In addition to its operations, QP carries out is activities through its various subsidiaries and joint ventures such as Qatargas, RasGas, Industries Qatar, Qatar Petroleum International, QVC, Q-Chem and others.
Qatar Fuel Company “WOQOD” was established in accordance with the Emiri Decree of 2002 as a share holding company listed in the Doha Securities Market with a paid up capital of QR 300 million. The company has the sole concession right for storage, distribution and marketing of all petroleum products in the State of Qatar. WOQOD’s vision is to be the leading petroleum and related services marketing company in the region. The company has recorded remarkable growth rates since its commissioning. Total net profit for the third quarter of 2007 has reached QR 432 million and total assets of the company has reached QR 2741 million. WOQOD is planning to expand its activities outside the state of Qatar and will explore all possible opportunities for new investment.
Airbus is a leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive family of airliners on the market, ranging in capacity from 100 to more than 500 seats. Airbus has delivered some 4,900 aircraft to some 280 customers worldwide and boasts a healthy backlog of around 3,000 aircraft for delivery over the coming years. Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK and Spain as well as subsidiaries in the U.S., China, Japan and in the Middle East. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS company.
Rolls-Royce, a world-leading provider of power systems and services for use on land, at sea and in the air, operates in four global markets - civil aerospace, defence aerospace, marine and energy. The company has a broad customer base comprising 600 airlines, 4,000 corporate and utility aircraft and helicopter operators, 160 armed forces, more than 2,000 marine customers including 70 navies, and energy customers in 120 countries. Rolls-Royce is a technology leader, employing 38,000 people in offices, manufacturing and service facilities in 50 countries.
The Shell Group of companies is a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with operations in over 130 countries. Shell businesses include oil and gas exploration and production; production and marketing of Liquefied Natural Gas and Gas to Liquids; manufacturing, marketing, trading and shipping of oil products, chemicals and renewable energy projects. Shell is at the forefront of energy trading and is one of the largest traders of crude oil and refined products. Shell is also the leading marketer of synthetic GTL products from its plant in Malaysia, and is building a world scale GTL plant in Qatar. For more information on Shell GTL, please visit www.shell.com/gtl
Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development is a private, chartered, non-profit organisation, founded in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar. Qatar Foundation supports network of centres and partnerships with elite institutions, all committed to the principle that a nation’s greatest natural resource is its people. Education City, Qatar Foundation’s flagship project is envisioned as a centre of excellence in education and research that will help transform Qatar into a knowledge-based society.
The Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) is an aviation industry consortium formed to coordinate the development and commercialisation of ‘drop-in’ alternative fuels (i.e. fuels that can directly supplement or replace petroleum derived jet 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.
There may be possibilities to conduct flight trials ahead of a worldwide industry approval but this will depend upon discussions with individual equipment manufacturers and regulators.
For further information about Rolls-Royce, click here