Aviation equipment

What are the different types of aviation fuel?

Aviation fuel is used to propel aircraft for civil, cargo and military purposes. Modern aviation fuels are unique in their energy per unit mass. Long-distance flights are made possible by aviation fuel's exceptional energy storage and release capabilities.
There are numerous varieties of aviation gasoline, each with unique properties, applications, and requirements. Even though the majority of these fuels come from fossil fuels, new recipes for green or sustainable fuels—like biofuels and electric batteries—are continuously being created.

Types of aviation fuels for general use

In aviation, jet fuel is mostly utilized in two types:


Jet fuel, which powers turbine engines like turboprops and jet engines, is a clear or straw-colored liquid derived from refined kerosene.

Jet fuel comes in a variety of varieties, the primary ones being:

Jet A
  • Jet A The United States is the main market for Jet A. Compared to regular kerosene, this fuel is heavier and has a greater flash and freezing points.
Jet A1
  • Jet A1 is the most common jet fuel in the world. Jet A1 has a lower freezing point (-47° C) than Jet A (-40° C), so it is particularly suitable for international travel in different climates. This type of fuel contains static dissipating additives that reduce the static charge that builds up while driving. Despite the differences between Jet A and Jet A1, airlines use both types of fuel interchangeably.
Jet B
  • Jet B is the most common alternative to jet fuel and AVGAS used in civil aviation. Jet B has a uniquely low freezing point of -76° C, making it indispensable in extremely cold areas.
  • AVGAS (short for "aviation gasoline") is used by traditional propeller-driven aircraft and small piston-engined aircraft. The flights performed by aircraft using AVGAS are usually of a smaller scale such as spraying agricultural crops with pesticides, private flights and training new pilots.
    AVGAS still releases tetraethyl lead (TEL) when burned into the atmosphere, which is a toxin used to prevent engine detonation. However, there are currently research and experiments aimed at reducing and eliminating the use of TEL. The G100UL, the first unleaded AVGAS (manufactured by General Electric), is FAA approved in mid-2021!

Emerging types of aviation fuel

Biofuels (also called sustainable aviation fuels) are an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional fuels used in aviation. The development of sustainable aviation fuel advances efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 across the industry. This new type of fuel is distinguished by its similarity in efficiency to typical aviation fuel, as well as its ability to be almost seamlessly incorporated into the existing fuel mix. Industry leaders point to the seamless incorporation of SAF as a way for the industry to move toward other renewable or carbon-efficient types of aviation fuel.

A greater emphasis on renewable energy in general aviation could push companies toward hydrogen power and electric batteries.Aviation batteries are currently bulkier and less efficient than fossil fuels, which currently makes the fuel type suitable for short flights and transporting light loads. Companies such as NASA and DHL are exploring battery-powered aircraft for a variety of applications, such as low-passenger flights and regional cargo movement. Unmanned drones are already a convenient application for commerce.

Natural gas has the potential for widespread use in aviation in the future as a short- to medium-term decarbonization solution. For example, liquefied natural gases release 25-30% more harmful emissions than conventional jet fuel.

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