Qatar Airways Fueling Jets with Natural Gas

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



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