Skip to comments.Commercial flight uses fuel produced from natural gas
Posted on 01/12/2013 6:26:30 PM PST by thackney
Qatar Airways completed the first commercial flight this week using fuel produced from natural gas, the company said.
The flight used fuel from the Pearl GTL plant in Qatar, through a partnership between the airline and the plant, jointly owned by Qatar Petroleum and Shell.
The fuel was made from a blend of gas-to-liquids kerosene and conventional oil-derived jet fuel. It powered an Airbus A340-600 on a flight from Doha to London, the companies said in a statement.
Shell says its gas-to-liquids products have fewer emissions than conventional jet fuel and are more environmentally friendly. The gas-to-liquids kerosene can comprise up to half of a fuel blend to power a commercial airliner, Shell said.
Qatar Airways CEO Akhbar Al Baker said in a statement that the airline is attempting to lead the industry into cleaner fuels.
As the world talks and preaches environmentally friendly skies, we at Qatar Airways are setting the bar high for others to follow, Al Baker said. We are shifting the goalposts. We are setting an example by doing our part, by committing ourselves to be at the forefront of innovative research.
The Pearl GTL complex in Qatar is the worlds largest plant capable of transforming natural gas into other fuels and is the largest single asset in Shells portfolio, involving more than $18 billion in investment, according to the statement. It made its first commercial shipment in 2011.
Because of the abundance of low-priced natural gas in the United States, Shell is exploring the possibility of building a GTL plant on the Gulf Coast.
Shell has invested more than $21 billion in Qatar over the last six years, making it the countrys largest foreign investor, according to the announcement.
But how efficient is it?
when will natural gas be reliable to use?
- saw a 350 P/U truck last week powered 100% by propane - in use with a small contractor, a country boy - $1.50 p/g versus 3.50 p/g - sounds like a no brainer.
Virtually every taxicab in Toronto runs on propane for the same reason. It’s so common that half the gas stations here sell propane.
It is a cost efficient method.
There are BTU’s used up in the conversion, but the result is a competitive price for jet fuel.
Natural Gas is way cheaper per BTU than Jet Fuel.
Natural Gas is completely reliable.
The problem is sufficient fueling stations.
They are being built, but it takes time.
I grew up in Chicago where they had CNG buses since 1950.
God blessed us with that atom.
Not sure what the difference is but United Airlines completed the first commercial flight in the US using natural gas synthetic jet fuel in 2010. I really hope this technology takes off for the environment as well as the fuel surcharge which can nearly double a ticket price for international travel.
I deeply regret not having NG service in my neighborhood. I wonder if it can be retrofitted (at a reasonable price per household). I’d by a NG car in a heartbeat. Even if we wind up paying a “road use tax” based on miles driven I think it always be less expensive.
Not quite that simple.
Propane = 90,000 btu/g, gasoline = 125,000 btu/g. Or thereabouts.
Whether that ratio holds for mpg, I have no idea.
thanks for the facts - you da man!!
Wow, that sounds really good. Maybe we should try ethanol, 100% ethanol or 100% propane .... I wonder why airplanes and large semis that have heavy loads or travel up mountainous roads don’t use 100% ethanol or propane, it’s so much cheaper.
20 plus years ago I worked for Waggoner and Brown and Jack Brown asked me to help on one of his pet projects. We built and installed several CNG fueling stations on the West coast, later the company became Pinnacle Gas. we made money but not at the level expected due to the infrastructure required. There was a product around a few years ago that was a small potable compressor that hooked up to your home service. Hook it up over night and refuel, I havent heard much more about it.
That was a blend using 40% natgas synfuel and 60% Jet A fuel.
when will natural gas be reliable to use?
When the infrastructure is as wide spread as servise stations, the fuel it’self is very reliable.
It may be that the difference is the Qatar flight was a commercial flight from city to city, while the Denver UA test flight just went up, ran some readings and came back to the same location without commercial passengers.
“- saw a 350 P/U truck last week powered 100% by propane - in use with a small contractor, a country boy - $1.50 p/g versus 3.50 p/g - sounds like a no brainer.”
Where do you get Propane for that price...not here in Texas. I do agree that natural gas costs something like $1.50 (equivalent) if not less...but Propane seems to be a rip-off (i.e., closer to $2.50), considering that the wholesale price is now under a dollar:
Why can't they just use existing gas stations that have NG service, and install compressors?
Yes, that’s physics.
And it’s more complicated than that. Vehicle range is only one-half of similar conventional vehicle, and it will be one of the slowest vehicles on the road.
A Honda Civic generally sells for around $20k. Make that a CNG Civic and the typical price goes to $27k or more.
Back in about 2005, the gas company ran a gas line into a new housing area. The line runs about 250 feet from my lot. I requested to have it come to my house. They wouldn’t do it unless i could get 10 neighbors to join.
I ended up getting electric heat pumps.
OK, thanks. The 2009 superjumpo Airbus Qatar flight on kerosene and conventional oil-based kerosene fuel was probably a test run as well. Shell’s GTL kerosene plant should be at full commercial production by now making regular flights viable by this year or 2014.
My take it was a first carrying commercial passengers on a "normal" flight.
It is a fairly significant investment both in cost and space to have compressor large enough to take the very low pressure distribution service (can be as low as 3~5 psi and compress up to 3,600 psi and at a volume to match constant fueling in short time periods.
If you start from a transmission line point of service, it is normally 1,000~1,200 psi. It is far lest costly to compress 3 times versus a 1,000 times increase in pressure. Far less horsepower required as well. A company running off a distribution line could hardly compete economically with someone running off the transmission line.
But transmission line service is far more limited locations. In many places in Texas, those lines are common. In New England, there is very few.
They also are going to need a decent amount of high pressure storage volume, ~4,000 psi capable to deliver to the 3,600 psi vehicle storage tanks quickly. So up those previous figures I just mentioned.
What you described can be done. But the amount of energy required becomes significant and the corresponding cost savings get smaller. People have to spend significant amounts to convert and likely loose significant range or storage space. They need to get significant cost savings in fuel or few will make the change.
I understand that they started shipping tankers of liquid fuel, (diesel, keosene, etc) summer before last.
First cargo of Pearl GTL products ship from Qatar
13 Jun 2011
So, perhaps locating the facilities along transmission pipelines, and running the compressors on uncompressed gas might work?
On the other hand, liquid fuels fabbed from NG might just be the next type of refinery to be considered. Here's a link I found on that topic:
Rather than describing it as uncompressed, consider it pre-compressed, with less final compression required. But yes, that is more likely the cost effective station.
liquid fuels fabbed from NG might just be the next type of refinery to be considered
While it is not a refinery, a gas-to-liquids conversion is exactly what this article was about. Shell and others have been doing it for a while.
Making the economics work in the US has been the challenge so far. But I expect to see more of this world wide as well as in the US. Hydraulic Fracturing combined with horizontal steerable drilling has opened up the shale formations and even with some significant increased demand, will like keep our nat gas price low enough to make it work.