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Old 27th May 2014, 14:26   #1
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Post Will a normal car run on Aviation Fuel?

Last night, 3 of my friends and I got into an interesting debate.

We were on the beach and a plane was flying over the sea, when one of them said "Just imagine how fast my Innova will go if I run it on that plane's fuel!"

He had already clocked a 180 km/h in his mind in his car just when I and another friend (a thorough automobile buff, eats, sleeps and breathes cars) burst his imaginary bubble and argued that a normal road car wouldn't run on Aviation Fuel.

While I didn't possess the exact reasons for supporting my statement; just because he was merry I thought I will give any reason and he will agree.

I argued that it is of a much higher octane and that aviation fuel won't get combusted in our car's engines. Luckily, the debate ended soon, but the question was constantly at back of my mind so I google'd it but there are different theories regarding the same; hence thought of asking here.

So, my question is : Can a road car run on Aviation Fuel? Yes/No whatever your answer, what is the reason?

Mods : Didn't find a similar thread. Still, please delete/move the thread if you do not find it appropriate/ at appropriate location. Thank You.

-Bhargav

Last edited by GTO : 28th May 2014 at 14:55. Reason: Typos
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Old 27th May 2014, 14:36   #2
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Default Re: Will a normal car run on Aviation Fuel?

It does. Smoothly. A lot of pilferage happens in the Air Force Stores where they take out the aviation fuel meant for the MIGs, Jaguars, Sukhois, etc. and use it for the Bajaj Chetaks, Splendours, TVS mopeds.
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Old 27th May 2014, 15:03   #3
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Default Re: Will a normal car run on Aviation Fuel?

It will, but have it's own set of problems. Smoke and loss of power, definitely not smooth running. Aviation fuel used in jets & turbo props is similar to diesel, and is close to what we know as Kerosene - not very volatile. It is not 'white petrol' (AvGas), which was used in propeller driven aircraft with multi-cylinder, spark-ignited internal-combustion engines (petrol engines).

That way, autorickshaws in Bangalore have been using Kerosene for years together now - seems to have gone down in the recent past.
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Old 27th May 2014, 15:20   #4
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Default Re: Will a normal car run on Aviation Fuel?

IIRC correctly, in the 80's the aviation fuel aka white petrol was available at a slight premium in the market (not legally) and people did use it in their cars. Belief was that it helps engine to turn out max power.
These were the old days and the old generation engines.
Even the Aviation / Jet fuels have changed in the last 2-3 decades.

I believe that if it is used in the modern day technology, the engine may not be able to take so much of power burst.
Aviation fuel has more Octane in it + a low flashpoint i.e. temperature at which it can catch fire.
Chances are that the car will just stall if either the Aviation / jet fuel is used in the car. Don't expect it to throw out fire from the exhaust (although fire from the engine compartment cannot be totally ruled out).


EDIT:
I googled a bit and found the following. Apt for the topic in discussion.

"According to my father (Airforce Fuel technician in the 70's), aviation fuel that powers simple prop driven planes is basically just extremely high octane gasoline. And contrary to popular belief, octane rating doesn't correlate directly power. It correlates to stability. Case in point, my father tried running his car on this type of gasoline fuel. The result ? It NEVER.EVER.knocked. But that's about it. In theory since the car ran more smoothly, over time it probably was putting out a little more power and getting better mileage, but nothing dramatic happened.

JET fuel on the other hand is a very different substance. Imagine adding liquified candle wax to your cars fuel and that's about what you get...

Side note.he also mentioned throwing a lit cigarette into a pan of the Jet fuel (JP-7 ???). Guess what happened -> Bingo! The cigarette went out."

http://gizmodo.com/5967240/what-happ...n-a-normal-car

Last edited by vinit.merchant : 27th May 2014 at 15:25.
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Old 27th May 2014, 15:41   #5
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Default Re: Will a normal car run on Aviation Fuel?

Modern Aviation fuel aka kerosene is mixed with Diesel at for extreme cold weather use in Ladakh. However, due to lack of lubricating properties, which comes from sulfur in diesel, use of high percentage of aviation fuel leads to fuel pump failure(premature)

Since in winters, diesel in ladakh, esp in remote areas often has very high percentage of this "kerosene", many locals keep 500 liters stock of summer diesel and use that mixed with regular diesel they get to offset the problems.
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Old 27th May 2014, 22:13   #6
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Default Re: Will a normal car run on Aviation Fuel?

Jet fuel or aviation turbine fuel (ATF) is a type of aviation fuel designed for use in aircraft powered by gas-turbine engines. ATF smells quite similar to Kerosene and has a much higher flash point than petrol hence it is not a suitable for gasoline IC engines
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Old 27th May 2014, 22:39   #7
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Default Re: Will a normal car run on Aviation Fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Octane_Power View Post
L
I argued that it is of a much higher octane and that aviation fuel won't get combusted in our car's engines. Luckily, the debate ended soon but the question was constantly at back of my mind so I googled it but there are different theories regarding the same; hence thought of asking here.

So, my questions is : Can a road car run on Aviation Fuel? Yes/No whatever your answer, what is the reason?

-Bhargav
There isn't such a thing as aviation fuel. There are lots of different ones.
Roughly speaking in its most simple form, there are two distinct groups of aviation fuels.

1 Fuels for aircraft with piston engines (i.e. spark plugs) or
2 Fuels for aircraft with jet engines (i.e. turbines)

The first one is also known under the name as Avgas. In theory you should be able to run a car's petrol engine on it. But there is a catch. All Avgas, even the so called 100LL (or Low lead) contains lead. Something we have done away for the car industry because of environmental reasons. Even the smallest amount of lead will completely run your catalytic convertor and O2 sensors. that is a very expensive bit of kit to replace!!

It has a much higher octane rating, which in itself isn't a problem. However, due to its composition it also tends to run a car engine pretty lean. So again, something you don't want.

The lead in Avgas is very specific and very necessary for piston engine powered aircraft. It comes under more and more scrutiny for the obvious environmental reasons. It is a big thing, to date there are no adequate lead replacements for aircraft and there are hundreds of thousand piston driven aircraft out there!

jet fuel in its most basic form is akin to simple kerosine. So, put it in a diesel engine and it will run. Put it in a petrol car and you have the same scenario as putting diesel in your petrol tank. Engine won't run, or will stall immediately and you need to drain and flush the whole.

Put jet fuel in a car diesel and engine and it will run. Though I'm not sure what it will do long term. I would expect that older diesel engines are more capable of running on Jet Fuel than more modern diesels.

Bear in mind that there are several different grades of jet fuels as well, so not all might work, but the most common A gradients as it is known should work in most diesels I guess.

Jeroen
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Old 28th May 2014, 12:29   #8
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Default Re: Will a normal car run on Aviation Fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Octane_Power View Post
Last night, 3 of my friends and I got into an interesting debate.
We were on the beach and a plane was flying over the sea, when one of them said "Just imagine how fast my Innova will go if I run it on that plane's fuel!"...
So, my questions is : Can a road car run on Aviation Fuel? Yes/No whatever your answer, what is the reason?
Now I may make an assumption. Lying on the beach you saw an aircraft that had turbo engine. (most of the aircrafts we see - ATR, Airbus, Boeing). This means that it uses Aviation Turbine Fuel (= kerosene for a lay man).
Can your petrol engine run on Kerosene? I remember my uncle running his Rajdoot bike on kerosene! But modern engines will surely get ruined (becuase of pinging).
Can your diesel engine run on Kerosene? Diesel engine works on ignition by compression, however since the fuel in diesel cycle doesn't enter until full compression - I don't think it would make such a great difference. However, the issue is that kerosene burns faster than diesel and this would cause damage to the engine. But diesel engine can surely be tuned for Kerosene fuel.

Now lets take the reverse case. Can airplane enginer run on petrol and diesel?
YES. (Remember my assumption about we talking about Turbo engines). Aircraft essentially have Gas turbines. (Even the propeller ones like ATR). The gas turbines can take in any fuel that can be atomized and vaporized.
The GTs in industrial units regularly run on Naptha (something like Gasoline), Kerosene, Diesel, Gas (methane + ethane mix), LPG. The same GT runs on these difference fuels.
Of course there are issues with respect to freezing, clogging, etc which need to be ascertained in an aircraft (and not applicable in industrial settins)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
Roughly speaking in its most simple form, there are two distinct groups of aviation fuels.
1 Fuels for aircraft with piston engines (i.e. spark plugs) or
2 Fuels for aircraft with jet engines (i.e. turbines)
Nicely explained.
I would add that Jet Fuel IS in fact kerosene. But with slightly tighter boiling range, and higher flash point. (We never did anything special to produce ATF instead of Kerosene, except increasing the column reflux and stripper steam ratios)
Kerosene can run in Petrol engines. However the knock characterisic is extremely bad and may ruin the engine quite fast. Kerosene in diesel engine? Should work without much problem (at least in the older engines). Lack of lubricity may kill the modern engines.

Last edited by Technocrat : 29th May 2014 at 03:16. Reason: Please quote selectively as a large quoted post causes inconvenience to our mobile readers. Thanks
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Old 28th May 2014, 12:36   #9
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Default Re: Will a normal car run on Aviation Fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
I would expect that older diesel engines are more capable of running on Jet Fuel than more modern diesels.
Nooooo
Modern diesel engines designed to run on ULSD(Ultra low sulfur diesel) do not require sulfur for lubrication of fuel pump and can actually run longer.
Older diesel engines with fuel pumps which require sulfur will get damaged more!
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Old 28th May 2014, 13:29   #10
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Default Re: Will a normal car run on Aviation Fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Nooooo
Modern diesel engines designed to run on ULSD(Ultra low sulfur diesel) do not require sulfur for lubrication of fuel pump and can actually run longer.
Older diesel engines with fuel pumps which require sulfur will get damaged more!
Commercial aviation fuel (Jet A/A-1) contains sulfur at concentrations of 400-800 ppm, although there is significant variation. By contrast, for instance US road transportation fuel is subject to an ultra-low sulfur fuel standard of 15 ppm, which is about 97% less than jet fuel.

So be it an old or a new car diesel engine, when you run it on Jet Fuel its going to get a significant higher dose of sulpher regardless.

You can not compare the fuel pump on a 40-50 year old diesel, to a modern diesel engine. The material, the tolerance all are very different.

I don't have any factual information, that's why I said
Quote:
I would expect
The reasoning behind that is the older diesel are just much more simpler and much more robust then modern diesels. They are much more resilient in terms of wear and tear. These new ones, compared to their older cousins are to some extent "prima donnas". You need to get it exactly right fuelwise, otherwise your are going to see problems. Modern diesels in general are much more susceptible to any type of impurities in the fuel, they have all sorts of sensors and electronics that control everything.

Here in India you can still see road side workshops overhauling (old) diesels including the fuel pumps. Simpel and easy to take apart, clean, polish, relatively all large tolerance. You try that with a modern diesel and its fuel pumps.

I used to have an old Mercedes W123 diesel. I could just about chuck anything in the tank, from regular diesel, to oil, to cooking oil, paraffin, heating oil whatever. It would just run with no problems.

In general I would say that using anything other then the appropiate fuel is going to have some sort of detrimal effect on the engine. Be it performance wise or wear&tera, possibly all of the above. But I think older diesel engines stand a better chance of coping with Jet fuel than modern one. I dont have any facts, just pointed out some of the variables you need to look at to come to any sort of conclussion/opinion.

Short version: there is much more to take into consideration than Sulphur.
But I would be very happy to hear from anybody that has a well broadly formed opinion.

Jeroen
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Old 28th May 2014, 13:39   #11
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Default Re: Will a normal car run on Aviation Fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
So be it an old or a new car diesel engine, when you run it on Jet Fuel its going to get a significant higher dose of sulpher regardless.
Guys who use older non common rail diesels in Ladakh told me that if they use "winter diesel" army stock which is basically mostly kerosene, they get a lot of problem with fuel pumps.
So they avoid using that.
Does all Jet fuel(kerosene) have high sulfur content?
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Old 28th May 2014, 13:45   #12
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Default Re: Will a normal car run on Aviation Fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Guys who use older non common rail diesels in Ladakh told me that if they use "winter diesel" army stock which is basically mostly kerosene, they get a lot of problem with fuel pumps.
So they avoid using that.
Does all Jet fuel(kerosene) have high sulfur content?
Are the problems with the fuel pump related to the fuel/sulpher, or the cold or a combination or both or possibly something else?
As the saying go, all about data, data, data, analysis, anaysis, analysis before you can draw a meaningfull conclussion. Otherwise its just opinion.

Working on lowering that sulpher content, but don't hold your breath:

http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/20...jet-fuel-radar

Just to add another variable, although it might not apply here in India. In many countries jet fuels are taxed differently from fuels used for car/road transportation. So apart from whether it is harmfull or not, it could actually be illegal and you can get very heavy fines in some countries for using the wrong fuel, even though it might be perfectly capable if not identical, just because the tax authirities have different rules. E.g. red over white diesel in many European countries. Exact same diesel just a different colour, red is taxed lower than the white. You get caught with red diesel in your car, your truck, huge fine and yes the police in for instance the Netherlands and Belgium does spot checks on this


Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 28th May 2014 at 14:00.
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Old 28th May 2014, 13:50   #13
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Default Re: Will a normal car run on Aviation Fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
Are the problems with the fuel pump related to the fuel/sulpher, or the cold or a combination or both or possibly something else?
As the saying go, all about data, data, data, analysis, anaysis, analysis before you can draw a meaningfull conclussion. Otherwise its just opinion.

Working on lowering that sulpher content, but don't hold your breath:

http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/20...jet-fuel-radar

Jeroen
In cold weather normal diesel freezes. So when they want to start their vehicles they have to park in "green house" type structure which warms up to 20 degree C during afternoon even when ambient is -20 degree C.

Those who risk the "aviation diesel" can start vehicles after a very long 30 second crank, but there are lot of fuel pump issues in those vehicles.

This is what wikipedia days
Quote:
Jet fuel is often used in ground support vehicles at airports, instead of diesel. The United States military makes heavy use of JP-8, for instance. However, jet fuel tends to have poor lubricating ability in comparison to diesel, thereby increasing wear on fuel pumps and other related engine parts
Also see this
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JP-8

Last edited by tsk1979 : 28th May 2014 at 13:52.
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Old 28th May 2014, 14:10   #14
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Default Re: Will a normal car run on Aviation Fuel?

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In cold weather normal diesel freezes.This is what wikipedia days
Well, it seems to be proving my point that modern engines are definitely prone to problems when running on Jet fuel. Because this is what that wikipedia page states:

Quote:
When used in highly supercharged diesel engines with the corresponding low compression ratio of about only 14:1 or below, JP-8 causes troubles during cold start and idling due to low compression temperatures and subsequent ignition delay because the cetane index is not specified in MIL-DTL-83133G to 40 or higher. Because lubricity to the BOCLE method is not specified in MIL-DTL-83133G, modern common-rail diesel engines can experience wear problems in high-pressure fuel pumps and injectors.
Highly supercharged diesels are not old diesels!

Also, JP8 is a military specific fuel, not sure how that compares to 'regular jet fuel, say A1.

Jeroen

Last edited by tsk1979 : 28th May 2014 at 14:12.
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Old 28th May 2014, 14:14   #15
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Default Re: Will a normal car run on Aviation Fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
Well, it seems to be proving my point that modern engines are definitely prone to problems when running on Jet fuel. Because this is what that wikipedia page states:

Highly supercharged diesels are not old diesels!

Also, JP8 is a military specific fuel, not sure how that compares to 'regular jet fuel, say A1.

Jeroen
What I could read there are two problems
1. Cetane number related problems
2. lubricity issues

A diesel engine required to run on ULSD needs additives for lubricity and also uses API-CJ engine oil.

An older diesel engine will be more prone to failure due to lack of lubricity in the fuel pump area.

A modern diesel engine may have other problems due to Cetane number.

What do you think about JP-5(A-1 I presume). That would solve the cold problem but have lubricity issues.
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