Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Airlines testing biofuel

Various airlines are looking for an alternative to conventional aviation fuel. The quest is for a secure, stable fuel supply that is not dependent upon petroleum or subject to its price swings.

Airlines also are looking for a fuel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The production and burning of biofuels produce far lower emissions compared with fossil fuels.

Continental Airlines successfully completed a test flight on Jan. 7 using a 50:50 mix of conventional jet fuel and biofuel in one of two engines in a Boeing 737-800 jet.

For its demonstration, Continental burned biofuel made from jatropha and algae, both nonedible. Jatropha is a plant from central Africa. Oil is extracted from jatropha seeds.

“We’re looking at 5-year time horizons, not 20-year time horizons,” Continental Chief Executive Officer Larry Kellner told reporters. “This isn’t going to happen in 2010, but it needs to happen before 2020.”

Japan Airlines plans a Jan. 30 test flight using biofuel made from camelina, a plant that some call a weed and others call a grass.

Another option to conventional jet fuel is synthetic fuel. It’s already been tested and is available. Syntroleum Corp. of Tulsa supplied the US Air Force with synthetic fuel for flight testing starting in 2006 (OGJ, Feb. 26, 2007, p. 24).

Rentech Inc. recently announced the Air Force bought synthetic jet fuel from Rentech's plant in Commerce City, Colo., for performance testing and emissions testing in a turbine engine.

I’m uncertain what role the oil industry might play in the future production of aviation biofuel. Sasol Ltd. in South Africa produces synfuel using the Fischer-Tropsch process.

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Blogger marketing poshe said...

Thank you for this awesome post on Airline testing bio-fuel. Fuel is not only costly but also causes pollution and therefore other means are to be found for using the air crafts.

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March 28, 2017 at 2:38 AM  

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