Can Gas Turbine Engines Run by Diesel Fuel?

19 June 2020, 10:37

Jet fuel has some similarities to diesel fuel that we use everyday on our cars, trucks and buses. There are 4 different types of fuels that are being used on commercial aircrafts until 1950s. Rather than Jet-A, Jet-B and TS-1, in this article we are going to handle the similarities between most common jet fuel Jet-A1 and diesel to find the answer of can we use diesel fuel on aircrafts. Lets begin!

Diesel Fuels

First of all diesel fuel should be defined well. We have 2 different diesel fuel type which are Diesel #1 and Diesel #2. The difference between the fuels is cetane rating which is like a gasoline’s octane. In terms of common use, diesel fuel we use on our cars is Diesel #2 which has more viscosity than Diesel #1. In the other hand Diesel #1 is the most likely to similar with Jet-A1 fuel, in terms of containing high sulfur rate and kerosene.

Diesel 1 instead of Jet-A1?

Jet-A1 is composed of mostly kerosene and Diesel #1 is approximately 75 percent of kerosene with added contains like lubricants and sulfur. So, the idea come on minds that diesel fuel can be use instead of Jet-A1.

The answer is: No!

Diesel fuels are heavier than Jet fuels due to larger hydrocarbon chains. In addition diesel fuels do not contain antifreeze and anti-microbial agents, static dissipaters and corrosion inhibitors like Jet-A1 to improve performance in aeronautical engines.

Finally diesel fuels have more heat output than Jet-A1 fuel and its flameable. Uncovering more heat and being flameable is unwanted point aeronautical industry due to fatal crashes caused by exploding fuel tanks.

Bonus Information!

If we think reverse, could diesel engine piston engine aircrafts run by Jet fuel?

The answer is: Yes!

Thielert diesel engines have been using by aircrafts for decades. These aircrafts use diesel #1 and diesel #2 fuels due to weather conditions. If its cold they prefer diesel #1. Besides the using diesel fuel types, nobody has ever claimed using Jet-A in a diesel engine wouldn’t work. Because of the close specifications and minimum certain requirements, Jet-A1 could use on diesel thielert engines. In U.S. Jet-A1 fuel is using on Diamond aircrafts and the people are using the fuel had no problem with the fuel until today.


    Rob Mackenzie says:

    Octane and Cetame ratings are not the same. Diesel with higher cetane ratings produce more power while petrol with higher octane ratings does not.

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