UREP-11 Cycle

Funding Agency

Project No


Project Duration

Feb. 2012- Feb. 2013

Total funding

US$30,000; Prof. Nimir portionUS30,000

Project Title

Characterization of Synthetic Jet Fuel Blends Derived from Gas-to-Liquid Technology and Properties Correlation with Fuel’s Hydrocarbon Structure

Project Description

With the State of Qatar positioning to become the world leader in natural gas production and processing, it is vital to develop cost effective and environmentally conscious technologies to convert the natural gas to ultra-clean fuels and value-added chemicals.  Furthermore, it is essential to understand and improve the characteristics of these synthetics fuels and hydrocarbon products to meet the energy market demands for future fuels and value-added chemicals. Diesel fuels obtained from natural gas via the Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) technology have already established their market value in USA, Europe and Japan as an environmentally attractive fuel, while other synthetic fuels from GTL are still waiting for their certification as transportation fuels. One of these fuel cuts are the Synthetic Paraffin Kerosene (SPK) fuels that can be utilized for the aviation industry to replace conventional kerosene (Jet A and Jet A-1). These SPK fuels have certain desirable properties, such as lower emissions and higher energy content per volume; however, they are challenged in important properties such as density due in part to their lack of aromatic compounds which boost these properties in conventional jet fuels. Using SPK fuels for aviation use is of interest to Qatar Airways who have envisioned becoming the world leading airline in alternative and clean fuels.  They has already flown the first commercial flights on synthetic GTL jet fuels using a 50/50 blend of SPK and Jet A-1, with the stated desire of increasing the SPK components of the blend beyond this proportion.

This project aims to, through experimental and simulation work, develop relationships between the properties of SPK fuels and their compositions. The properties of interest are the ones that are crucial for fuel certification, which are the density, flash point, freezing point, heat content and viscosity. Using base components, a multitude of blends will be formulated to provide as broad a spread of compositions as possible. For this project it is planned to use pure normaliso– and cyclo– paraffins as the base components because they formulate a typical SPK for jet fuels production. Upon formulation of the blends, they will be tested for their properties following rigorous industrial standards for safety, reliability and accuracy. On completion of the testing regime the physical properties will be correlated against the composition and various statistical analysis work, such as using neural networks, will be carried out to determine relationships between the two. The statistical work will allow for a better understanding of how the properties are influenced by each base compound. This will allow for the development of a suitable strategy for the upgrading of the properties of SPK fuel to match those of Jet A-1 more closely, ultimately allowing SPK to be used in the aviation industry.

Major Project Accomplishments

  • Mariam Al-Meer (Master from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and currently at Shell-Qatar)
  • Maria Orillano (Currently Production Engineer at Total E&P Qatar)
  • Abul hasanat jahanur Rahman (researcher Texas A&M Qatar)
  • supported by Dhabia Al-Mohannadi (Master from Texas A&M Qatar and currently PhD student at Texas A&M University)
Peer reviewed journal publications, Book chapters, Conference proceedings

1.  Third International Gas Processing Symposium.
Topic: A Path to Formulate New Generations of Synthetic Jet Fuels Derived from Natural Gas via GTL.
Poster presented by student researchers (Maria Orillano; Dhabia Al-Mohannadi; Haider Ramdhan; and Jahanur Abuhansant), Doha, Qatar. March 2012.


2.   Elbashir N.O., Raza B., Elmalik E.E., Ramadhan H., Al-Mohandi D., Al-Meer M. (2011) “Characterization of Synthetic Gas-to-Liquid Jet Fuel Blends and Properties Correlation with Hydrocarbon Groups” Proceedings of the Qatar Foundation Annual Research Forum, Vol. 2011, EGP20; pp. 164-165 (presented by Mr. Ramadhan).

  1. Elbashir N.O., Al-Meer M., Rahman A.H.M.J., Al-Mohannadi D., Ramadhan H., Elmalik E.E., Raza B. (2011) “Experimental Analysis of Novel Synthetic Fuel Blends with Statistical Analysis” Proceedings of the Qatar Foundation Annual Research Forum, Vol. 2011, EGPS3; pp. 184-185 (presented by Ms. Al-Meer).

Qatar Shell Research Center

Awards and Recognitions

1.   The Energy & Fuels Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Recognition for the High Quality Research Contribution of the Undergraduate Students Research Work in San Diego 2012th ACS Annual Meeting.

2.   The Scientific Visualization Competition First Place Award (US$6,000 Award sponsored by Qatar Foundation & Texas A&M Qatar University) (with my student Jahanur Abul Hasanat) (Doha, Qatar May 2012).

3.   Shell’s Award (US$10,000 Travel Award for to present their the research results in the 2013th  Spring Meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Diego, California  (March 2012) for Mariam Al-Meer, Maria Orlliano and Abdul Hasant.

 4.   The Best Research Team Award from the Chemical Engineering Department (April 2012). Mariam Al-Meer, Maria Orlliano, Dhabia Al-Mohandi and Abdul Hasant

5.   The First Place Poster Award from the 3rd International Gas Processing Conference received (US $1,000 Award) Doha, Qatar (March 2012) Mariam Al-Meer, Maria Orlliano, Dhabia Al-Mohandi and Abdul Hasant