The most significant potential source of aviation gas turbine fuels in the continental United States of America is the western oil shale located in the Rocky Mountain States of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. Nearly 600 billion barrels of recoverable oil is located in this area. This paper discusses the availability of oil shale and reviews the recovery, upgrading and refining schemes necessary to produce fuel which can be used in present-day aircraft.
Other synthetic fuels are discussed with regard to the processing necessary to produce suitable fuels for today’s high performance aircraft. Heavy oil and tar sand bitumen are likely to be refined in the next decade. Methods for producing suitable fuels are discussed. The chemical structure of these sources, which is basically cyclic, leads to the potential of heavier fuels with more energy per given volume and therefore longer range for certain aircraft. This exciting possibility is reviewed.