Gas turbines have wide application as prime movers in transportation and power generating sectors, most of which are driven by fossil fuels like kerosene. The conventional fuels are associated with problems of air pollution, and the fuel reserves are getting depleted gradually. Addition of ethanol in kerosene leads to better spraying characteristics. The present work deals with the spray characteristics of pure kerosene and 10%-ethanol-blended (by volume) kerosene using a novel gas-turbine hybrid atomizer. Here the inner air and outer air enter in the same and opposite directions, respectively, with respect to the fuel flow direction into the atomizer and a high swirling effect occurs outside the nozzle. The fuel stream is sandwiched between two annular air streams and the flow rate of inner and outer air is varied continuously. Various spray stages like distorted pencil, onion, tulip and fully developed spray regimes have been observed. The breakup length, cone angle and sheet width of the fuel stream are analysed directly from backlit imaging for different fuel and air flow rates. From the image processing, it is observed that breakup occurs at an early stage for 10%-ethanol-blended kerosene due to low viscosity of ethanol. It is also observed that at higher air flow rate, breakup occurs at an early stage due to turbulent nature of the fuel stream. © 2017, Indian Academy of Sciences.