Blend ratio of synthetic jet fuel blend analysis determined in under a minute with portable IR spectrometer


Source: Spectro Scientific

With the price of oil on a roller coaster ride and the desire to reduce dependence on foreign oil, the airline industry and military are currently investigating ways to supplement the fuel supply with synthetic jet fuel. To date, synthetic jet fuel is made mostly from coal which is a plentiful source in the US. Research is also underway to produce synthetic fuel from biomass to further improve environmental sustainability.

In order to successfully implement synthetic jet fuels into a fuel supply, it is essential to know the blend ratio of synthetic to standard jet fuel. The InfraSpec VFA-IR Spectrometer was recently evaluated by a major worldwide terminal storage company as a possible tool to analyze the blend ratio. Preliminary results indicated that the InfraSpec VFA-IR Spectrometer had accuracy better than 0.5% by volume for commercial (Jet A) and military spec (JP8) fuels. Both types of fuels were blended with different levels of synthetic jet fuel. In addition, it was possible to calibrate the InfraSpec Spectrometer using Jet A fuel and predict the synthetic blend ratio on JP8 fuel, showing that the analysis is robust enough to compensate for different fuel types. Measurement results were obtained in under a minute.

The patented InfraSpec VFA-IR Spectrometer represents a new concept in mid-IR instrumentation which utilizes a detector array with linear variable filter. This results in a compact, portable spectrometer that has a number of advantages over conventional Infrared instruments such as the widely-used FT-IR Spectrometer. These advantages include no optical path through air, no moving parts, light weight (under 5 lbs), portable (battery operated), rugged, lower cost and can be operated by individuals with little or no technical knowledge of infrared instrumentation.

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