Automakers are watching what’s happening in other transportation modes that are using alternative fuels to reduce petroleum consumption, save money on fuel costs, and improve emissions. You may have seen media coverage about international airlines that have been testing out jet biofuels in recent years to wean themselves off addiction to traditional jet fuel and improve greenhouse gas emissions. But what about natural gas as an alternative fuel? Qatar Airways, the national Qatar carrier, is adopting natural gas for its jets that’s being processed through a Royal Dutch/Shell built gas-to-liquids plant. It makes a lot of sense considering that Quatar is different from a few of its neighboring countries – it has little oil and vast supplies of natural gas.
Transitioning over to an alternative fuel is costing transportation companies large investments of cash and staff resources to make it work. The benefits have to be there for this to get carried out. Some analysts are concerned about Qatar using natural gas as a jet fuel due to all the extra processing that’s required. Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of the airline, says that the fuel is better for the environment than jet fuel made from petroleum. First, it has no sulfur and doesn’t produce sulfur dioxide, a potent global warming agent; and it requires fewer gallons of fuel to fly the same distance as traditional jet fuel, as it has slightly more energy per pound than petroleum jet fuel. The lighter the fuel, the greater the fuel economy, according to the Qatar Airways chief executive