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Biofuel steps into the Jet fuel market

  1. Feb 26, 2008 #1

    mheslep

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    Showman Sir R. Branson put on another display that highlighted some technical and business advances on the use of biofuel instead of the traditional kerosene source for jet fuel. Branson's Virgin Airways flew a 747 Sunday from London to Amsterdam w/ one of the four engines using a bio/traditional mix. Meanwhile Branson drank of shot of his new fuel.

    Notables:
    1. Production of a biofuel that won't freeze at jet altitude: -47C
    2. Cold temp bio jet fuel made by: Imperium Renewables
      - Seattle based
      - Founded 4yrs ago by John Plaza
      - Planter likes algae for his future bio crop; likes sewage processing tanks as a major algae source
    3. Branson pitching tax breaks to EU governments for using bio jet fuel

    WSJ Tuesday Feb 26
    Virgin Puts Biofuels On Maiden Voyage
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2008 #2

    mheslep

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    Correction to the company name
     
  4. Feb 27, 2008 #3

    turbo

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    Baby steps, though. Branson's got his heart in the right place, but he readily acknowledged that this was a feasibility demonstration. We've got a long way to go before we can make this type of fuel plentiful, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly. I have high hopes for the algae-oil guys like Ivan and hope that they can feed those little rascals with processed sewage so as to reduce the energy-costs of sewage treatment and get some energy back out. One thing to watch is methane production. It is a potent greenhouse gas, and it can form in copious quantities in anaerobic digestion processes.
     
  5. Feb 27, 2008 #4

    mheslep

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    Sure its a start. I should have emphasized the breakthrough more: cold weather biofuel. People were saying this would never be done at aviation temperatures.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2008
  6. Feb 27, 2008 #5

    turbo

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    You're right about that. We don't have the details, though. Most biofuels in transportation applications have to be pre-heated to keep them from gelling at low temperatures, even in mundane uses like supplementing diesel fuel in cars and trucks. Normally, you'll have to run a vehicle on diesel for a period, and use the waste heat from that engine to pre-heat and liquefy the biofuel before you can start bleeding the biofuel into the fuel stream. This is a problem that students at Unity College here in Maine have been tackling. We have cold winters, extremely high fuel prices, and long commutes between where you might live and where there might be a job that pays enough to support your family.
     
  7. Feb 27, 2008 #6

    mheslep

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    The only comment in the WSJ piece is "Imperium came up with a process that yields fuel that won't freeze at minus-47". The IR website has absolutely no further relevant tech. details. I think its safe to assume no mechanical alterations would be allowed to the fuel system of the aircraft (like additional fuel heating) so the cold weather enabler in this case has to be all in the in fuel composition.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2008
  8. Feb 27, 2008 #7
    There was a thing about this kind of technology on the Science channel. Basically, the airlines and Boeing have said "We won't change our engines to run your fuel, you must change your fuel to run on our engines." They did something with pressure and, I think, an autoclave process to convery WVO more or less, into a fuel that was very close and fully interchangeable with kerosene.
     
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