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Use of Jet fuel in lieu of diesel fuelHelpful Member!(9) 

EEJaime (Electrical)
28 Sep 09 14:16

In another forum, a question was asked that intrigued me.  Someone was asking if there was a need to make a generator location a hazardous rated location if Jet Fuel was used as an emergency  fuel source for a diesel engine generator set.  While I think I know the answer to that the real question that I had was: Will a diesel engine actually run on Jet A fuel?  I would think that the jet fuel would burn much hotter and faster than diesel.  Would the engine survive this?  Indefinately?  Diesel is a Class II combustible liquid, Jet is a Class I Flammable liquid.

Will for example, a Cummins QSK60-G6 NR2 turbocharged aftercooled, 16 cylinder engine run on jet fuel?  What modifications might be required?  What are the performance and emissions implications?  Are there engine life effects?

I am just speaking in general terms.  I don't expect an exhaustive response.  Just an opinion of those with expertise in engine design and engineering.

Thank you and regards,
EEJaime (Electrical)
28 Sep 09 14:52
For some reason our firewall won't let me access that page.  Is there an alternate location where this information might be found?
Thank you,
Helpful Member!(2)  ivymike (Mechanical)
28 Sep 09 15:07
as noted, there are aviation diesels.

Many production diesel engines will run on aviation fuels with some penalty in life and a ~10% reduction in power (engine manufacturers recommend using lubricity additives with these fuels to mitigate durability effects): AVTUR FS11, NATO F34, JP8, MIL T83133, DEF STAN 91-87, DERD 2463, AVCAT FS11, NATO F44, JP5, MIL T5624, DERD 2452, AVTOR, NATO F35, JET A1, DEF STAN 91-91, DERD 2494, NATO F43, JET A ( ASTM D1655 ), or ASTM D399 Kerosene.  

The sulphur levels for these fuels are typically higher (occasionally much higher) than is commonly allowed with recent-model aftertreatment systems (15ppm for ULSD).  I think this would disqualify the fuel from use in those vehicles requiring ULSD per EPA regulations.  Emissions compliance would certainly be affected if sulphur levels were much over the allowable limit, and in some cases the higher sulphur can lead to rapid engine damage (if exhaust gas is re-ingested).  Engines which don't use exhaust gas recirculation, and which don't have catalysts for aftertreatment, would experience much less harm.

I believe the following fuels are not generally acceptable, regardless of additives: AVTAG, AVTAG FS11, NATO F40, JP4, DERD 2545, JET B ( ASTM D1655 ), BS MA100, JIS K2203 No.2

ivymike (Mechanical)
28 Sep 09 15:09
here's an old presentation on using JP8 w/ CAT engines:,1,Slide 1
ivymike (Mechanical)
28 Sep 09 15:18
another potentially useful site:
(see "characteristics of diesel fuel")

I did a couple of google searches to help with the above... " jp8" and "caterpillar jp8"
EEJaime (Electrical)
28 Sep 09 17:14
Lots of very good information.  Thank you for your assistance.  A star for you sir.
btrueblood (Mechanical)
28 Sep 09 20:00
A friend of the family used to operate his (1980's era) Chevy diesel pickup on Jet-A (commercial jet fuel, roughly neat kerosene).  He ran an airport refueling business, and so had access to it.  Never mind the US road tax implications, he's long since passed beyond the reach of the authorities.  It ran "just fine", with less smoke than regular summer diesel, and a teardown/rebuild at 120,000 miles showed no ill effects.   
Helpful Member!  ca2sbl (Automotive)
28 Sep 09 23:15

The United States Department of Defense has used military jet fuel (I do not know the specific jp number) for almost 20 years exclusively in all oil burning power plants wheither diesel, oil burning steam boiler or gas turbine in aircraft, ship or land vehicle.

During the first Gulf war, fuel filters were changed after the first tank full in land vehicles that had previously been burning diesel.

Any increased in operating costs are more than offset by the need for only one fuel supply channel instead of three: diesel, military distillate and jet fuel (DOD had long ago eliminated all gasoline burning combat type vehicles).

While the U.S. military has a large operating budget, if exclusive use of jet fuel raised operating costs significantly, either increased maintenance or repair costs, the traditional fuels would have been restored.

Helpful Member!  thruthefence (Aerospace)
29 Sep 09 8:41
There are some Aviation ground support vehicles that run on Jet "A". It's a selling point. The Fuel farms have to "waste" quite a bit of fuel during the quality control process, and you are not allowed to just dump the surplus back in the tank. It just becomes a 'hazmat' item. So, they re cycle it into tugs, APU's and so forth. Many years ago I knew a Line guy who returned from his Tour of duty in Germany with one of those old Mercedes diesels, and it ran exclusively on sumped jet fuel. He added a cup of ATF ever so often to lube the injectors.
Helpful Member!  turbomotor (Mechanical)
30 Sep 09 10:57
Hello EEJaime,

I think there are two main problems with using Jet fuel (Jet A, Jet A1, JP8) in a typical compression ignition reciprocating engine, neither of which is insurmountable:

1. The lubricity of Jet Fuel is typically less than that of Diesel Fuel, hence the fuel injection equipment may wear at a greater rate, and

2. Jet Fuels do not typically specify a cetane rating, so ignition of the fuel may be a problem (especially in cold climates).  Cesar Gonzalez (retired - Cessna) did tests on Jet Fuels (AvTur) from many different locales around the world, and found a huge variation in cetane number.

But others (such as USAF) have used a common fuel for both turbine engines and compression ignition reciprocating engines, and have done so successfully for years.


hemi (Automotive)
2 Oct 09 23:46
Many years ago, I was involved in a project funded by the US Navy that had the objective of determining a "broadened specification distillate fuel", along the lines that ca2sbl indicated.  The intent was to determine the broadest possible fuel specification that was adequate, if not ideal, in all aspects for a wide variety of engine types, from large shipboard gas turbines to high speed 2-stroke and 4-stroke reciprocating diesel engines (I believe, but am not 100% sure, that aircraft turbines were included in this range also).  The underlying objective was obviously to enable the Navy to procure all its fuel in accordance with single, broad specification, in order to maximize the availability of sources while minimizing cost.  There was at least one paper published by ASME in 1991 or 1992 that I could dig up to shed some more light on this.
patprimmer (Publican)
3 Oct 09 5:31
Maybe it was to simplify logistic support in the field. Just put the same fuel in all applications without thought, especially in the heat and erratic supply lines when in  battle.

See FAQ731-376: Forum Policies for tips on use of eng-tips by professional engineers &
for site rules

turbomotor (Mechanical)
3 Oct 09 12:57

I did a quick email search and found a 1971 paper that I think addresses the OP
(see link below).  However,I did not find the 1991 or 1992 ASME paper that you indicated.  Can you give me additional direction to the ASME paper - I am very interested.


thruthefence (Aerospace)
3 Oct 09 14:29
Regarding "aviation diesels"; wasn't the driving force behind this, the uncertain availability of leaded aviation gasoline in the future? Jet fuel is pretty much available all over, but not avgas.  
berkshire (Aeronautics)
3 Oct 09 23:42
EEJaime (Electrical)
Some years ago I was involved with Petter diesel generator sets, and part of their operating handbook covered running the gen set, if diesel oil was not available.
 The recommendation was to use Paraffin ( kerosene) or Jet A with a pint(20 fl oz) of 30 weight lubricating oil added for every 10 gallons of fuel.
hemi (Automotive)
4 Oct 09 1:05
turbomotor, I have a copy at work.  I'll dig it up when I'm there next week.
hemi (Automotive)
6 Oct 09 21:00
I thought I had a copy, but I looked and couldn't find anything except a related paper for a different society that dealt solely with the wear measurements and not with the fuel properties.  On a quick look at the ASME website, it seems that they have not archived papers going that far back.  So we may be SOL here.  sad
DigitalGT (Military)
27 Oct 09 23:38
FWIW. The military, more specifically the Navy still uses separate fuels in the diesel/kerosene range. Occasionally the odd JP-8 fuel sample or seventeen ;) (1 quart jars each) may be dumped into a diesel powered piece of support equipment just to eliminate the HAZWASTE nuisance but in 13 years of Naval Aviation service, I've never seen a JET A or JP pumped into anything other than aircraft.

To the OP: Will a diesel run on Jet A or JP-? Sure it will.....if it is a low to mid performance engine such as one used in a mobile power cart (generator) or support tug. Hell even in a VW TDi. My old turbo diesel used to drink Jet A like a sororistute at a frat party. In a Fire Breathing Holy Mother of God forty meeeeellion pounds of boost hot rod? Not without retuning.
icelander (Automotive)
2 Nov 09 12:16
Around here running diesel engined road vehicles on kerosene is fairly widespread amongst commercial users, as there is a 25-35% savings in fuel cost pr. litre. The "kerosene" sold from gas station pumps is the same as sold to airlines for their jets, we are told, for purchase commonality reasons. Oil company staff we have asked say it's JP8, although A-1 would seem more logical.

One example is a taxi driver who has used kerosene exclusively for his Mercedes-Benz Sprinters for four years, without being punished yet. He drops in about a liter of 2-stroke oil per tank fill, as do most others concerned about longevity of their Power Stroke, Nissan and other modern diesels. Smell is increased, power is down some, consumption is measurably increased, but considerable savings are still made. Only significant reductions in engine life would negate those savings.

One interesting twist is the addition of precisely metered, small amounts of acetone to the jet fuel, some say 3-5 pro mill, others no more than 1,75%. The result is said to be that power is just about restored to diesel fuel levels. One proponent of this brew runs a small fleet of 7,3 and 6,0 l. Power strokes, keeps a log, and says consumption is reduced enough to fiscally warrant the use of the acetone he buys bulk. Googling acetone addition yields quotes like:  "Readily-available chemical added to gas tank in small proportion improves the fuel's ability to vaporize completely by reducing the surface tension that inhibits vaporization of some fuel droplets". When used in normal modern engines run within their design limits, acetone is fairly obviously useless.

As using JP8 is outside the design envelope of modern road car diesel engines and therefore their makers cannot comment, two questions arise: If acetone benefits JP8 users, then how?
And, does lubricity due to the higher sulphur levels in JP8 kerosene partially or completely negate the need for the addition of heavy oil for modern common-rail engines?
Helpful Member!(3)  MikeHalloran (Mechanical)
2 Nov 09 14:34
From Deere's Operator's Manual for Tier3 4.5L and 6.8L engines:

IMPORTANT: Some information contained within
this manual refers to engines that
are capable of running on aviation
(jet) fuels. These engines are
specifically ordered and outfitted
with special hardened components
and fuel dosing element(s) that make
the engine capable of using these
CAUTION: Engines NOT ordered and
outfitted with these special components are
NOT capable of using aviation (jet) fuels. If
you have any questions, please contact your
local servicing dealer.


Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

MikeHalloran (Mechanical)
2 Nov 09 14:48
Deere's Application Guideline 18 has more to say about use of aviation fuels, including this:

PowerTech PSX, PVX, PWX Engines (4.5 L / 6.8 L / 9.0 L / 13.5 L)
(Engines with John Deere supplied Diesel Oxidation Catalyst)
Aviation Fuels
Not allowed. Aviation Fuel has sulfur content levels greater than 0.002% (20 ppm) and are not allowed for use with
John Deere engines with Diesel Oxidation Catalyst. This includes fuels such as; Jet A, Jet A-1, Jet B, JP-4, JP-5, JP-
7 and JP-8.

For most other engines, e.g. without catalysts, it's mostly just Not Recommended, for example:

PowerTech Plus Engines (4.5 L / 6.8 L / 9.0 L / 13.5 L)
Aviation Fuels
Jet A Not recommended. Lower viscosity and density than base fuel No. 2-D. Power loss up to 10% can be expected.
Jet A-1 See Jet A comments. Power loss up to 10% can be expected. Jet A-1 may be used as an emergency fuel only, with
the addition of John Deere PREMIUM DIESEL FUEL CONDITIONER™ (or equivalent) at the specified concentration.
Jet B Not Recommended. Lower density and extremely low viscosity compared to base fuel No. 2-D. Power loss up to 14%
can be expected. Jet B may be used as an emergency fuel only, with the addition of John Deere PREMIUM DIESEL
FUEL CONDITIONER™ (or equivalent) at the specified concentration.
JP-4 Not Recommended. See Jet B comments.
JP-5 See Jet A comments. Power loss up to 10% can be expected.
JP-7 See Jet A comments. Power loss up to 10% can be expected.
JP-8 See Jet A comments. Power loss up to 10% can be expected.


Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

patprimmer (Publican)
2 Nov 09 18:52
Like Mike said plus

See previous threads on acetone. It has been much discussed along with many other snake oil fuel additives.

See FAQ731-376: Forum Policies for tips on use of eng-tips by professional engineers &
for site rules

ornerynorsk (Industrial)
3 Nov 09 14:50
Many military trucks are duel fuel.  Diesel #2 and JP4 ???  Can't remember for sure.
hemi (Automotive)
7 Nov 09 23:31
Like anything, there is a large gap between what you can get away with for XXX operating hours, and what the system in question has been validated to work with for its specifed life.
tbuelna (Aerospace)
8 Nov 09 0:18

Yes, I believe Jet A is slightly more volatile than No.2 diesel.  But I would doubt whether it is enough to present a safety issue with regards to handling or storage.  The different hazard classifications between the two are more likely due to the fact that Jet A is typically present around airports and No.2 diesel is not.

And yes, most any current recip piston diesel engine will run on Jet A.  But you probably don't want to do it except in an emergency, since it will likely damage the engine if used for long.  High pressure diesel injector and pump parts like to have some measure of lubricity in the fuel, which Jet A doesn't really provide.  And they are calibrated for operation based on the combustion characteristics produced by No. 2 diesel, which differs from Jet A.

Of course, the lubricity issue may no longer be entirely true, since all No.2 diesel sold in the US is now ultra low sulfur.  And it was the sulfur in the fuel that provided the lubricity.  So one might assume that all newer fuel systems are designed to run without it.

As for the US military, all stationary and ground vehicle engines, whether turbine or recip piston, must now use JP8.

Here's what Shell has to say about using Jet A in a recip piston engine:

Here's a good aviation fuels reference from Chevron (who does not recommend using their Jet A in a piston engine):

Good luck.
Helpful Member!  drwebb (Automotive)
9 Nov 09 8:27
"And it was the sulfur in the fuel that provided the lubricity.  So one might assume that all newer fuel systems are designed to run without it."

More correctly- as pointed out above- that all newer diesel FUELS (on-road grades anyway) are designed to have the same lubricity without sulfur.

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