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Qatar Airways, Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Fuel Company (WOQOD), Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Shell International Petroleum Company limited and the Qatar Science and Technology Park sign agreement to study benefits of Synthetic Jet Fuel


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.


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