In a 747 containing a stunning 5% biofuel, Virgin Atlantic proved that you can indeed fly a plane on bio-diesel.
There was actually some question as to whether it would be possible actually, because jet fuel has to stay liquid and non-viscous at extremely low temperatures. Most bio-diesel at those temperatures would become too thick to feed into the engines. However, a young biofuel startup in Seattle, Imperium, created a mixture that when mixed in ratios up to 40:60 with jet fuel, stayed usable.
The Virgin flight ran one of the four engines on a 20:80 mix of the Imperium fuel, for an overall replacement of 1/20th of the fuel used on the flight. Of course, with recent fears over the sustainability of bio-fuels due to replacement of food crops and deforestation, it's unclear whether bio-diesel is going to escape from this battle in tact. Only if large-scale production of bio-diesel from algae hits the mainstream will we see this technology taking off.
Ethanol has more of a future, as it's easier to produce it in mass quantities from waste products. However, ethanol contains less energy than bio-diesel per gram, which is a trade-off the airline industry is unlikely to make, even if they can get it to run in jet engines.
Via the Wall Street Journal
written by Daniel Rossi, February 28, 2008
written by matt, February 28, 2008
written by poetryman69, February 29, 2008
written by campbell, March 28, 2008
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