Airline industry and the future of oil

  • Thread starter Pengwuino
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  • #1
Pengwuino
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One thing that I've absolutely never seen brought up is how aircraft will be effected by depleating oil supplies. We figured out that we can go to hydrogen powered cars when we figure out all the kinks in the system and setup a mass distribution system... but what about aircraft? I just can't imagine a hydrogen powered 747 or any nuclear engines anytime down the road...

So what are the plans for the future of air travel? Or does air travel use so little oil that we can use natural processes that already happen to create enough fuel for them
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Danger
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Jet aircraft run on various grades of jet fuel, which is essentially kerosene. I've seen one mentioned recently (in this site, I believe) that was run on deisel fuel with little or no modification. It shouldn't be too hard to adapt one to burn hydrogen. As for storage, the most efficient method that I'm aware of is magnesium hydride blocks. Pure magnesium absorbs hydrogen when chilled and releases it when heated. The storage density is 1gm/cc, which is higher than liquid hydrogen. This is a thread in which FredGarvin should probably make the deciding posts.
 
  • #3
Pengwuino
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Can you burn hydrogen in a jet engine with some mods??
 
  • #4
DM
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Pengwuino said:
Can you burn hydrogen in a jet engine with some mods??

The jet engine would have to be innovated.
 
  • #5
Danger
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Pengwuino said:
Can you burn hydrogen in a jet engine with some mods??
Sure. The gas turbines in generator plants are just jet engines burning natural gas. The turbopumps in most liquid-fuel rocket engines, or the turbochargers in cars or planes, are extremely simplified jet engines. Pretty much anything that can be injected, ignited, and will hold a reasonable combustion front at the flame-holder area is appropriate. Since hydrogen has the highest efficiency of any fuel, it stands to reason that burning it will be cheaper than using something like Jet-A. Modifying an engine to use it should be no harder than converting a car from gasoline to propane.
 
  • #6
Astronuc
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Adding to what Danger mentioned, gas turbines in power plants already burn natural gas (methane) so burning hydrogen would not be a problem.

However, hydrogen burns very hot - so the combustors would have to be designed to accommodate high temperatures.

Also, a major issue will be storage, especially if hydrogen is liquified. Cold LH2 would cause moisture to condense (a problem with the space shuttle), cold temperatures pose a problem for metal fatigue, and hydrogen gas is highly flammable. Possibly LNG or ammonia could be used as a fuel, but there are technical, economic and safety issues to be considered.
 
  • #7
hitssquad
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Astronuc said:
Possibly LNG or ammonia could be used as a fuel, but there are technical, economic and safety issues to be considered.
How about using kerosene as fuel?
 
  • #8
Andre
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One thing that I've absolutely never seen brought up is how aircraft will be effected by depleating oil supplies.

Perhaps have another look.
 
  • #9
FredGarvin
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Pengwuino said:
One thing that I've absolutely never seen brought up is how aircraft will be effected by depleating oil supplies.
You don't hear about drastically fluctuating airline pricing? The idea of depleting is misleading. The first day man drilled for oil, technically the oil supply was depleting.

Pengwuino said:
I just can't imagine a hydrogen powered 747 or any nuclear engines anytime down the road...
Take a look at Project Pluto from back in the late 50's-early 60's.
 
  • #10
Pengwuino
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Andre said:
Perhaps have another look.

Ok what i meant to say was CNN has never said anything :P
 
  • #11
Pengwuino
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FredGarvin said:
You don't hear about drastically fluctuating airline pricing? The idea of depleting is misleading. The first day man drilled for oil, technically the oil supply was depleting.

Nope, never have...although i have been rather low on my daily tv allowance as of late. And when i said depleting, i meant as far as it coming to a point where we don't have any left So scratch depleting, insert... uhm...dang it i just woke up after 3 hours of sleep :yuck: ... whatever word means not have much of, insert that :rofl: :rofl:
 
  • #13
Pengwuino
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Im still talkinga bout the costs as oil becomes uhh, dissappeared :D
 
  • #14
Astronuc
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hitssquad said:
How about using kerosene as fuel?
Jet fuel is pretty much kerosene, which is derived from oil. Pengwuino's question concerned what happens when oil runs out.

One could in theory use Fischer-Tropsch synthesis to make heavier alkanes from a feedstock of hydrogen and CO2.
 
  • #15
russ_watters
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The initial plan for the SR-71 was to have it burning hydrogen. Liquid hydrogen is a double-edged sword: it has a high energy density (energy per pound) but a low density (mass per pound) so while planes powered by hydrogen would be lighter (and thus require much less energy to fly) than traditional planes, they'd also need to be much larger: the first design for the SR-71 had it 300 feet long.
 

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