Dilemma For Aviation gasoline: End of the Road or Beginning of Another Life?

Printer-friendly versionSend to friend

Recently, the General Aviation gasoline Supply and Demand Symposium was held in Beijing, attracting great attention from the industry. Actually, shortage of aviation gasoline supply has long been the bottle neck restricting Chinese general aviation industry from developing.


At present, Lanzhou Petrochemical is the main aviation gasoline manufacturer in our country. Lanzhou Petrochemical is one of the 156 important projects during the first national Five-year Plan, and the largest petrochemical company in west China. Data shows, by 2015, Lanzhou Petrochemical is expected to produce more than 20,000 tons of aviation gasoline. Apart from that, Changsha Tonglian Aviation Technology Co Ltd can provide about 1,500 tons of aviation gasoline each year.


According to statistics, 40,000 tons (including imports) of aviation gasoline was consumed by aviation industry in 2013, while petroleum production of 2013 exceeded 2,100 million tons, among which aviation gasoline took up less than 0.01 percent. And the strict production standard and high production and transportation cost also scared a lot of refineries away.


As for production rate, because of the small production tank, Lanzhou Petrochemical produces only 900 tons of #100 aviation gasoline per batch, which takes half a month to twenty days, and thorough cleaning has to be carried out between batches in order to produce lead free gasoline. Besides, according to industrial rules, regular maintenance to the production facility has to be carried out periodically during which production has to be stopped for 50 days. Therefore general production rate is low.


As required by the production process, special distillation tower, anti-wave pipeline and buckets have to be used for the production of aviation gas. Because of the lead content, aviation gas often requires completely independent transportation and storage equipments, even tank trucks after transporting aviation gas have to be cleaned before lead free gasoline can be transported, thus the transportation and storage costs are very expensive. According to understanding, Lanzhou Petrochemical produces nearly 16 million tons of products, among which only 20,000 tons are aviation gasoline, with a production profit of only 1%, which is not regarded as cost effective product. It is really hard for a product with such high input, high standards, complex processes and without a high return rate to catch the interests of refinery plants.


Although all these years aviation gasoline has been widely used in general aviation industry as the fuel for piston engines, as the industry develops, aviation kerosene has also entered piston general aircraft market, the advantages of which poses more and more a challenge to aviation gas. Therefore, the future of aviation gasoline is undetermined, which also indirectly caused the diminishing of aviation gasoline production. Also there is a saying that, aviation gas has come to the end of its heroic road.


As a critical strategic resource concerning the development of Chinese general aviation, the dilemma faced by Chinese aviation gasoline has come to a point of life and death. This supply and demand conference offered a good opportunity for both supply and demand sides to build a good platform on which they can solve the gasoline dilemma face to face. Besides, the following aspect has to be approached:


1. From a perspective of national interest and people's livelihood, building up aviation gasoline strategic storage. During recent years, Chinese general aviation industry has dramatically developed. By 2013, we have 189 general aviation companies in this country, 1654 registered general aircrafts, with a total flight time of 530 thousand hours, among which more than half are piston planes. Industrial flight operation amounts for 77.4 thousand hours, agricultural flight operation exceeds 30 thousand hours, both steadily increasing, and flight training hours is increasing even more dramatically, amounting for more than half of the total flight time. Therefore, whether aviation gasoline can be supplied is more and more crucial to the development of general aviation.


2. Building regional aviation gasoline storage and delivery center. Currently, this nation is in short of a integrated aviation gasoline transport network system, even some airports find aviation kerosene supply to be difficult. If delivered temporarily with tank truck or refueller, it will dramatically increase the fueling cost and time cost for general aviation companies, which will further limit the development of general aviation. Therefore, the nation should build regional aviation gasoline storage and delivery center according to real situation.


3. Rationally increase aviation gasoline production, encourage credible private companies to participate, forming a scaled production layout. Related functional sectors should also provide certain subsidies for participating companies, so that aviation gas production layout can be improved, and long term aviation gasoline supply can be secured.


4. Based on the drafting of standards for #91 lead free aviation gasoline, the development of #100 lead free aviation gasoline should be sped up, in order to provide continuous drive force for the healthy development of general aviation, and achieve a unity of general aviation development and environment protection.


5. Encourage the application of aviation kerosene engines, reassemble or gradually dispose of gasoline engines. As technology develops, the reliability and economy of kerosene engine keep improving, related departments should encourage the application of kerosene engines. As an example, the Diamond D40 assembled in Binzhou, Shandong uses the Centurion 2.0 aviation kerosene engine and gets over the gasoline barrier, not only convenient for refueling any time in major airports so that parking rate is lowered, but also the expensive fuel storage and transportation cost of general aviation companies is lowered, lowered time cost, throw on top of this the more and more extended engine life as a result of advancing technology, makes this kind of plane a choice of wisdom for general aviation companies facing gasoline supply shortage in the near future. Apart from this, Piper PA-28 and many other piston planes also introduced aviation kerosene versions. It is believed that as time goes on and technology advances, more and more kerosene version piston planes would emerge.

Source: China Civil Aviation Newspaper, Author: Li Yu Liang (Summarized and Edited by CGA-HelpDesk)

Upcoming Events

No upcoming events. Please check again later.


International Agencies


Regional Trade Association




Highlighted CGA Member


Share your knowledge and become a partner today.

Subscribe | 订阅

Subscribe FREE for your monthly industry updates to your mailbox.


Click here