Jet fuel specifications have changed

FIJI FAME Stanhope-Seta WING

Stanhope Seta FIJI – ASTM D7797 / IP 583 is now included as a specification test for FAME.

New revisions of ASTM D1655 and DefStan 91-91 were updated and published this week. The FAME levels have now been relaxed to 50ppm with an emergency release of 100ppm.

Find key details below:

DEFSTAN 91-91 Issue 7, Amendment 3

  • FAME has now been listed in DefStan 91-91 in table 1, under a new heading ‘Incidental Materials’.
  • The FIJI instrument, ASTM D7797 / IP 583 has been included as an accepted alternative test in Table 2
  • Inclusion of FAME in table 1 means that it is now a mandatory requirement to report the FAME content – both at point of manufacture and for re-certification purposes.

ASTM D1655

  • FAME is now listed in Table 3 Identified Incidental Materials
  • FIJI – IP 583 / ASTM D7797 is an authorised test method for FAME
  • FAME testing is on a risk assessed basis and a decision of whether to test is at local discretion

FAME in Jet Fuel

Aviation fuel does not normally contain FAME, however wherever aviation fuel is transported there is risk of FAME contamination from mixing with previous cargos or poor pipeline/tank cleaning, whether at a terminal or on-board ship.

A number of incidents resulting in FAME contamination of aviation fuel have been reported over the years:

  1. Jet fuel storage tanks were quarantined at Birmingham International Airport after it was discovered that the samples in question contained FAME. The airport ceased refuelling and was closed for the weekend. The cause of contamination was the co-transport of biodiesel and jet fuel in the multiproduct pipelines.
  2. Two events at Belfast City airport.
  3. A high level of FAME was discovered in Corsica resulting in disruption to supplies.
  4. An event in the Azores occurred which lead to disruptions in the fuel supply.

FAME is a surface active agent which means that it adheres to metal surfaces. This is a problem as the fuel distribution network (pipelines, tankers and barges) are often shared. If jet fuel follows a cargo of biodiesel or BX diesel FAME can be dissolved into the jet fuel.

There are other issues relating to FAME and long term storage due to its relatively poor oxidative stability and if water is present, ideal conditions for microbial growth are created.

The UK Energy Institute (EI) formed a Joint Industry Programme (JIP) to look into how much FAME could be allowed in jet fuel without causing operational or service issues. The report demonstrated that 100 mg/kg of FAME was a reasonable limit for FAME contamination of aviation fuel. The industry is taking a cautious approach with the latest updates to ASTM D1655 and Defence Standard 91-91 approving 50 mg/kg, ASTM D1655 will allow an emergency level of 100 mg/kg with engine and airframe OEM’s approval.

In response to FAME contamination in jet fuel, SetaAnalytics began to develop a procedure and unique apparatus based on the use of Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) cartridge technology and IR spectroscopy. This development resulted in a new patented technique using flow analysis by FTIR – Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy and the publication of IP 583 and ASTM D7797.

ASTM D7797, IP 583 ‘Determination of the Fatty Acid Methyl Esters content of Aviation Turbine Fuel using flow analysis by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy – Rapid Screening Method’

Features of FIJI FAME in Jet Instrument

  • Short test duration: approximately 15 minutes
  • All types of FAME can be detected in the ranges of C8 to C22, including and not limited to; coconut, mustard, palm, rapeseed, sunflower oil, soya and jatropha
  • Minimal calibration required
  • 1 test provides the total FAME content, irrespective of the type of FAME present
  • Fully automatic
  • Laboratory and field instrument
  • Certified range 10-150 mg/kg
  • No pre-sample preparation required
  • Self-cleaning therefore no cleaning solvents required
  • Simple operation – pass/fail indication requires no operator interpretation
  • (green/red colour light system)
  • FIJI has the best precision of all test methods at the two key specification levels of 50 mg/kg and 100 mg/kg

Advantages of FIJI compared to other technologies available

  • FIJI requires no additional equipment or specialist training in order to operate.
  • Operators using FIJI can either test samples at a laboratory or in the field.
  • FIJI is diverse – it can test both AVTUR and diesel fuel
  • Results are automatically calculated by FIJI and therefore no analytical chemistry is required.
  • FIJI covers all FAME detection ranges (C8 to C22) without any additional equipment or testing.
  • As no sample preparation, gases or additional equipment is required, FIJI is much more cost effective to run.
  • Frequent calibration/verification is not required using FIJI but is with all three other analytical methods.

Watch our FIJI demonstration video

From 2nd May 2015 FAME measurement will become a mandatory part of recertification which is conducted at the upstream supply terminals and prior to movement to airport.

FAME tests are now mandated in DefStan 91-91.

1 In order to test diesel fuel, a software upgrade is required for compliance to ASTM D7963 Standard Test Method for Determination of Contamination Level of Fatty Acid Methyl Esters in Middle Distillate and Residual Fuels using Flow analysis by Fourier Transform Spectroscopy – Rapid Screening Method

Contact our team at John Morris Scientific for Stanhope Seta instrumentation
AUS Freecall 1800 251 799 or NZ Freecall: 0800 651 700  Email:

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1 Comment on Jet fuel specifications have changed

  1. Wonderful post!Very detailed yet simple to understand. Congrats, keep posting.

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