Fueling the Future

With fuel overtaking labor as the single largest operating expense for most airlines, commercial aviation is exploring alternatives to oil. The Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative is a collaboration of the Aerospace Industries Association, Airports Council International and the FAA, along with the Departments of Defense and Energy. Synthetic fuels are considered the most reasonable answer, though there are numerous barriers yet to be overcome. Gasification of coal is the best-known process. It is used in South African in a blend of coal-derived FT kerosene and Jet A. That approach is preferred by manufacturers and operators because no technology has to be changed. A key shortcoming is the absence of aromatics, which assure that critical engine and fuel seals don’t leak. Aromatics can be added, as is the case in the South African mixture. Another problem is the manufacturing process, which generates unacceptably high levels of CO2. Strategic advantages to reducing reliance on oil are described, along with other fuels that are derived from non-petroleum sources. Still, the ideal fuel in terms of energy stored within it and the manufacturing process remains Jet A.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Illustrations; Photos;
  • Pagination: pp 38-40
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01050265
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: UC Berkeley Transportation Library
  • Files: BTRIS, TRIS
  • Created Date: May 16 2007 3:41PM