Fuel Characterization Laboratory

Texas A&M University at Qatar’s Fuel Characterization Laboratory (FCL) is built to support both research and teaching activities in the area of formulation and characterization of fuels and value-added chemicals. It is a world class research laboratory that support the development of the fuel technology capabilities of Qatar for Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) processes. It supports the research and testing needs of multiple, industry-oriented and scientific disciplines such as materials, electronics, machining, manufacturing, chemistry, fuel characterization, research computing, water and environmental research, wettability research, engine testing and research, sustainability energy and clean air research, and petrophysics.

The FCL is currently used for the development of future generations of synthetic fuels obtained from natural gas using GTL technology, and the comparison of these fuels with conventional fuels obtained from petroleum resources. The FCL is equipped with advanced analytical equipment to measure both physical and chemical properties of fuels and value-added chemicals. The lab is equipped with over 30 types of analytical equipment including advanced Gas Chromatographs (GCs) that are capable of identifying the chemical composition of all species existing in fuels. Furthermore, the FCL is equipped with the necessary facilities to formulate new fuel blends via the use of additives.

The work conducted in this lab adheres to a sophisticated data quality control system and safety regulations developed with the support of our industry partners. This system ensures that the equipment, testing procedures and data recording in the FCL comply with international standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). The FCL is ISO 9001:2015 Certified. In addition, the FCL hosts a number of projects representing a unique collaboration between world leading companies in fuels and engine manufacturing, and academic institutions around the globe. Collaborators are Shell, GE (Oil& Gas), OryxGTL, Qatar Airways and others. Over 25 graduate and undergraduate researchers were trained in the facility since 2009.

Design Approach of GTL Synthetic Fuels

The overall scope of our work is to identify the chemical components for making synthetic fuel blends that satisfy specific product needs (e.g. gasoline, diesel, jet fuel) and provide ultra clean fuels. We aim to develop experimental protocols for characterization of the physical and chemical properties of these blends.  We model the relationships between fuel properties and blend composition to predict the properties of a given blend. The different compositions of oil-derived and synthetic jet fuels leads to a difference in physical and chemical properties, which may be crucial in determining performance. ASTM standards are used to specify property limits (ranges). The methodology followed is to prepare the blends and experimentally measure the blend properties and develop property-composition correlations until optimum blend compositions are identified.

Fuel Characterization Lab Quality Management System

FCL Objective is to produce technically supportable laboratory test results that accurately and precisely describe the sample for the purpose of reporting to the internal and external customers. FCL has developed a quality management system that comply with ISO 9001:2015 certification requirements to insure quality of service and results for industry and academia partners. The laboratory is certified in June, 2015.

Fuel characterization laboratory capabilities




Test Method


Gas Chromatography (GC-FID)

Agilent / 7890A

Composition and concentration of fuel

ASTM D 2887

Gas Chromatography (DHA)

Perkin Elmer / Clarus 500

Composition and concentration of fuel

ASTM D 6730

Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)

Agilent / 7890A + 5975C

Composition and concentration of fuel

Custom method

2-D Gas Chromatography (GCxGC)

Agilent/ 7890A + EPC Modulator

Comprehensive two dimension Gas Chromatography

Custom method

Gas Chromatography (online GC-FID)


Composition and concentration of online product from Fisher Tropsch Reactor

Custom method

Automatic Distillation

Petrotest Instruments GmbH /ADU 4+

To determine the boiling range of fuel sample


Copper Strip Corrosion

Anton Parr ProveTech GmbH/ OBA 2 & PA5

To detect the corrosiveness to copper (or silver) of aviation gasoline or other hydrocarbons

ASTM D 130


Anton Paar / DMA4100

To measure the Density

ASTM D 4052

Dynamic & kinematic Viscosity

Anton Paar / SVM 3000

To measure the dynamic and kinematic viscosity of fuel Sample

ASTM D 7042

Sulfur Analyzer

Mitsubishi Chemical Analytech Co. LTD/ TS-100V

For sulfur content of fuel

ASTM D 5453

Electrical Conductivity

Emcee Electronics /
Model 1153

To measure the Electrical conductivity

ASTM D 2624

Fluorescent Indicator Adsorption

Anton Parr ProveTech GmbH/

To determine of hydrocarbon types

ASTM D 1319

Flash Point

Petrotest Instruments GmbH/ TAG 4

Measuring the flash point of fuel


Flash Point PM

Stanhope-Seta / PM93

for measurement of flash point of hydrocarbon liquid samplesTo determine of hydrocarbon types


Cold flow properties analyzer

Phase Technology /

Phase properties of fuel (freezing, pour and cloud point)

ASTM D 5949 / 5773 / 5972

Freezing Point (manual)

Petrotest Instruments GmbH/ K2276

To measure the freezing point of fuel

ASTM D 2386

Heat Content

Parr Instrument Co/

Net Heat content of fuel

ASTM D 240

Lubricity Automated BOCLE System (ABS)


To assess the lubricity of jet and diesel fuels

ASTM D 5001
ASTM D 6078

Moisture Content


To measure the moisture content of fuel sample

ASTM D 6304

Total acid number

Petrotest Instruments GmbH /

For the determination of acidic constituents in petroleum products

ASTM D 664

Octane Number

Zeltex Inc. /  ZX-101XL

To measure Octane number of fuel sample

ASTM D 976

Oxidation Stability

Petrotest Instruments GmbH/ OBA 2 & PA5

For the determination of the stability of Fuels under accelerated oxidation conditions.

ASTM D 525 / 873

Saybolt Color

Petrotest Instruments GmbH/

Color property of fuel

ASTM D 156

Smoke Point

AD Systems/

Smoke point detector

ASTM D 1740 / 1322

Vapor Pressure

Grabner Instruments /

For determination of the vapor pressure of fuels

ASTM D6378


PlasmaQuant PQ 9000

Determination of additive elements

ASTM D 5185

FCL Equipment details can be obtained from here

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