Which Fuel is Used in Aeroplane – Variant, Types and Prices
Have you ever wondered what is the fuel used in aeroplanes? From a small jet plane to a big airbus, aeroplanes need aviation fuel to operate.
Though there are several variants of aviation fuel available, most aeroplane companies prefer kerosene.
Want to know the reason?
Then, keep scrolling to know more about which fuel is used in an aeroplane and why.
More About the Fuel Variant Used in Aeroplanes
Aeroplanes use aviation fuel to operate. This is formed by compiling the properties of petroleum and synthetic fuel blends.
There are two variants of aviation fuel used in aeroplanes, namely jet fuel and AVGAS. However, selecting the right aviation fuel for an aircraft depends on its engine type.
Generally, gas turbine and diesel-based aircraft use kerosene-based fuel, which helps in better performance and handling. These types of aircraft fly through the rotation of the propellers, which generate the thrust.
While the piston operated aircrafts are compatible with AVGAS, or aviation gasoline fuels. These types of aircraft fly through the rotation of the propellers, which generate the thrust.
Now let’s understand which fuel is used in aircraft and its types in detail.
What Are the Different Types of Aircraft Fuel?
You can find multiple variants of aviation fuel worldwide. However, private jets, commercial aeroplanes, and general aviation aircraft usually depend on two types of aircraft fuel: Jet Fuel and AVGAS.
1. Jet fuel or Kerosene
Jet fuel is a refined kerosene-based fuel widely functional in aeroplanes with turbine engines, turboprops and jet engines.
You can find two variants of Jet Fuel, namely Jet A and Jet A1. There are basic manufacturing differences between these two types of fuel used in aircraft. These jet fuel variants can be used interchangeably to operate turbine-engines aeroplanes.
The main differences between Jet A and Jet A1 are-
- Freezing Points-Usually, Jet A1 freezes at -47° while Jet-A freezing point is -40°C. The lower freezing point of Jet A1 makes it ideal for long international flights. The fuel variant is suitable for the ones flying over polar routes.
- Additives-Jet A1 mostly contains additives that are static dissipaters. This helps to decrease the static charges which form due to jet fuel movement. Comparatively, Jet-A does not include static dissipater additives.
- Usage-Jet A is prevalent in the US, while Jet A1 is universal or used in the rest of the world.
If you were wondering which fuel is used in jet aeroplanes, the answer is AVGAS. Aviation gasoline or AVGAS is a variant of aviation fuel that powers small piston-engine aeroplanes.
Usually, flight training jets, flying clubs and private pilots operate these aeroplanes.
AVGAS contains a significant amount of tetraethyl lead additive. The Tetraethyl lead prevents engine detonation or knocks, which can cause engine failures.
However, this fuel is toxic for human inhalation or absorption via the bloodstream. Therefore, it is advisable to use the fuel with caution.
There are two main types of AVGAS, which are AVGAS 100 and AVGAS 100LL. Here the 100 refers to the octane rating.
The basic differences among these types of fuel used in aeroplanes are-
- Tetraethyl lead Additive-The AVGAS 100 has high lead content, while AVGAS 100LL includes low amounts of tetraethyl lead.
- Colour-AVGAS 100LL sports an artificial blue dye, while AVGAS 100 sports a green dye.
Apart from understanding which type of fuel is used in aeroplane and their differences, let’s learn its composition. This will help you understand the manufacturing process of this fuel.
What Does Airplane Fuel Constitute?
Aeroplanes use jet fuels primarily derived from crude oil, commonly known as liquid petroleum.
Organic materials found in shale, namely petroleum solids or kerogen are the sources of jet fuel. Manufacturers then use heat to convert these into shale oil.
This process has given these fuels the name of shale-derived jet fuels.
If you are searching what is used as fuel in an aeroplane -gases or jet fuel? Here’s a detailed explanation on the topic.
Why Do Aeroplanes Use Jet Fuel Instead of Gases?
It is an obvious fact that aeroplanes cannot run on fumes. Hence, they use chemical energy stored in aviation fuels to power the engines.
Here are some reasons why jet fuel or kerosene is preferable -
- Lower freezing point- Kerosene or Jet fuel has a lowering freezing point, making it naturally protected against freezing temperatures. This is beneficial for flights passing over polar regions.
- Low viscosity- Jet fuel has a lower viscosity during flight operation and, hence, is watery in nature. Due to its lower freezing point, it remains less viscous and watery during flights. This is a reason why jet fuel is used in aircraft.
- High flash point- Flash point indicates the temperature when a flammable chemical ignites and turns into vapour. As jet fuel has a higher flash point, it offers higher octane to achieve greater power during flights.
- Less expensive- kerosene is significantly cheaper than its counterparts, making it cost-effective.
Now that you know what the name of fuel used in aeroplanes is, let’s check how much fuel an aeroplane needs.
How Much Fuel Does an Airplane Consume?
To understand the fuel consumption, we need to consider flight size, distance covered and what type of fuel is used in an aeroplane.
For instance, an Airbus A321neo covers a distance of 1200 kilometres in two hours. Let’s say it flies at an average speed of 600 km per hour and has a sitting capacity of 192 people; it will consume around 4.18 litres of fuel per kilometre.
The flight will consume an average of 5,016 litres of fuel in the entire journey of 1200 kilometres.
Comparatively, a bigger flight like the Boeing 747 will approximately use 4 litres of fuel every second. This gives an estimate of 14,400 litres per hour and 240 litres per minute.
Since the flight uses a significant amount of fuel, it is essential to learn about current fuel prices in India.
What Is the Current Price of Aviation Fuel in India?
You should know that the fuel prices change with the economic conditions and other related factors.
According to a report, the average aviation turbine fuel (ATF) price was increased by ₹3,663 per kilolitre in the national capital price notification of state-owned fuel retailers. (Report published on March 1st 2021).
As per Hindustan Petroleum, the ATF Prices in Metros (Rupees/Kl) for Domestic Airlines applicable from September 1, 2021, are as follows -
These are some of the essential details that answer your query on what fuel does an aeroplane use.
Having a detailed knowledge on this topic will help you understand how aeroplane operates and the fuel requirement.
Now that you know about the fuel used in aeroplanes and variants, don’t forget to share it with your friends.