There are many different types of jet fuel made of different materials, ranging from sustainable biological waste to crude oil products.
The vast majority of jet fuel, though, especially the more widely used types, including Jet A and Jet A1, are manufactured using petroleum products.
In the following article, we’ll outline the different types of jet fuel, what each type of jet fuel is made of, as well as the important differences between each type.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Jet Fuel is Made Of
- 2 Types of Jet Fuel
- 3 What Sustainable Jet Fuel is Made Of
- 4 What Bio Jet Fuel is Made Of
- 5 What Renewable Jet Fuel is Made Of
- 6 Is Jet Fuel Dangerous or Harmful to Humans?
- 7 The Difference Between Jet Fuel and Kerosene
- 8 The Difference Between Jet Fuel and Diesel
- 9 The Difference Between Jet Fuel and Avgas
What Jet Fuel is Made Of
Jet fuels are mostly made using crude oil or liquid petroleum, but some jet fuels can also be made using organic materials such as those found in shale.
This organic material is known as kerogen, and it can be turned into shale oil through heating.
Jet fuel is made by blending and refining different crude oil petroleum distillation products like naphtha, gasoline and kerosene to acquire specific characteristics that make them best suited for military and commercial purposes.
Jet fuel will also contain hydrocarbons in the range of between 12 and 15 carbon atoms, meaning that jet fuel mostly consists of kerosene.
If you’re wondering, jet fuel is colorless to straw-colored in appearance
Types of Jet Fuel
Jet A is kerosene grade fuel that’s used almost exclusively in the United States.
It’s comparable to Jet A-1, but Jet A has a higher maximum freezing point ( -40°C), so it’s mostly used for flying over long distances, but not over Arctic regions.
Jet A is mostly used by commercial airliners for both domestic and international travel.
Jet A fuel is primarily manufactured using C9-C16 hydrocarbons, which are combined from n-paraffins, isoparaffins, aromatics, and naphthenes.
Jet A-1 is also a kerosene grade fuel like Jet A1, but it has a much lower freezing point ( -47°C).
Jet A-1 fuel is widely used outside of the United States since it’s ideal for long-distance travel, even over Arctic regions because of its lower freezing point maximum.
Jet A1 fuel has a similar chemical composition to Jet A since it is mostly made of Kerosene, Petroleum, and renewable hydrocarbons with additional petroleum products and additives including aromatics, naphthalene, toluene, and benzene.
Jet B is used for commercial flights, but it’s designed specifically to be used only over extremely cold regions like the Arctic and Canada.
Jet B fuel is notoriously difficult to handle because it’s extremely flammable and explosive.
Jet B fuel is most comparable to JP4 military fuel in terms of composition. Jet B fuel’s composition is around 65% gasoline and 35% kerosene.
TS-1 jet fuel is designed to be used by subsonic aircraft operating within Russian jet fuel regulations.
TS-1 fuel is widely used in Russia and other eastern European countries for this reason.
TS-1 fuel has very high volatility, low deposit formation susceptibility, and is designed for use in low temperatures.
TS-1 jet fuel is made of a blend of kerosene and gasoline. It also contains a high amount of sulfur.
Before use, TS-1 fuel is subjected to hydrotreating and mixed with straight run fuel.
Military Jet Fuel
There are many different types of military jet fuels, separated by category and type.
These different kinds of jet fuels are also used for different purposes and needs by the world’s military.
JP-8 is the most widely used type of fuel by the US military.
For the most part, military jet fuels are made by blending and refining different crude oil petroleum distillation products like kerosene, gasoline, and naphtha.
Military jet fuel usually has very specific and high specifications and standards.
What Sustainable Jet Fuel is Made Of
Sustainable Aviation Fuel, or SAF, is an environmentally friendly substitute for traditional fossil fuels.
The benefits of using SAF include reduced CO2 emissions, superior air quality, and better fuel efficiency.
Instead of being refined using petroleum, SAF is produced from renewable resources like biological waste products including biological oils, non-fossil CO2, or agricultural residue.
What Bio Jet Fuel is Made Of
Biofuels were developed as a substitute for conventional kerosene jet fuels.
Bio fuels are developed in numerous countries using different methods, and these fuels are used for different purposes.
Primarily, bio fuels are created using multi-tubular reactors.
A catalyst is placed within the tubes of the reactor and cooling medium. Bio jet fuel is obtained as a byproduct of multi-tubular reaction processes.
What Renewable Jet Fuel is Made Of
Renewable jet fuels include all sustainable fuels and biofuels mentioned above.
fuels are manufactured using different sources including plant material like Jatropha, tallows, palm oil, algae and waste oils.
These biological materials typically have high energy densities, which permit them to be useful fuel.
Is Jet Fuel Dangerous or Harmful to Humans?
Jet fuel is not a dangerous substance if it comes into contact with a person.
It is much more dangerous in the sense that it is extremely flammable and therefore has the ability to cause severe burns.
If a person inhales fumes from jet fuel, it would be appropriate for them to take deep breaths, and in the event of any breathing difficulties, seek immediate medical attention.
If jet fuel contacts your skin, it will result in irritation, so you should wash it immediately.
If jet fuel comes into contact with your eyes, that can also cause irritations, and in rare instances it may even result in blindness.
Washing off the jet fuel immediately would be highly recommended.
The Difference Between Jet Fuel and Kerosene
Jet fuel is refined kerosene, so there is little difference between it and kerosene apart from jet fuel having a higher freezing temperature than kerosene.
The Difference Between Jet Fuel and Diesel
Jet fuel is lighter than diesel, since jet fuel has fewer hydrocarbon chains.
Both fuels are made of kerosene, and jet fuel is less viscous than diesel.
The Difference Between Jet Fuel and Avgas
Avgas is closer to gasoline while jet fuel is closer to kerosene.
Avgas is commonly used in turboprop planes with combustion engines, while jet fuel is used for compression engines.
In conclusion, jet fuel is mostly made of petroleum products, but there are sustainable versions of jet fuel too.
Helen Krasner holds a PPL(A), with 15 years experience flying fixed-wing aircraft; a PPL(H), with 13 years experience flying helicopters; and a CPL(H), Helicopter Instructor Rating, with 12 years working as a helicopter instructor.
Helen is an accomplished aviation writer with 12 years of experience, having authored several books and published numerous articles while also serving as the Editor of the BWPA (British Women Pilots Association) newsletter, with her excellent work having been recognized with her nomination of the “Aviation Journalist of the Year” award.
Helen has won the “Dawn to Dusk” International Flying Competition, along with the best all-female competitors, three times with her copilot.