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NASA Starts Biofuel Flight Tests

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Elizabeth M
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Good news
Elizabeth M   3/12/2013 8:49:38 AM
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Thanks for covering this, Ann. It's great to see NASA backing the use of biofuels and experimenting with alternative fuel for its gas-guzzling vehicles! Hopefully their research will set a precedent and pave the way for more widespread use of alternative fuels. Any idea why these chose fuels based on these particular plants? It seems like there are quite a number of plant-based biofuels emerging.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Good news
Ann R. Thryft   3/12/2013 1:02:21 PM
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You're welcome, Elizabeth. I know the military has done research in this area, as you'/ve covered for DN, but the only NASA work I'd seen before this was the OMEGA algae biofuel project. They seem to be playing it pretty close to the vest regarding what they are or aren't planning to actually use, or why they choose one plant source over the other. But the fact that the EPA just listed this one as a qualifier under the RFS program indicates to me that they may be moving from the wide range of R&D to working on stuff that's got a higher probability of being used.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Good news
Elizabeth M   3/12/2013 4:05:59 PM
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Ah well, yes, much better to focus on something that might actually become a widely used biofuel in the future. It's good to see NASA focusing like that. Not surprising they are being a bit hush hush about the whole thing. It is NASA, after all. Will definitely look forward to future developments here.

Mydesign
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Re: Good news
Mydesign   3/13/2013 4:01:53 AM
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Elizebeth, I think instead of fully depending up on a particulate type of fuel source, they have to look for hybrid mode of fuels like a combination of solar & bio & gasoline type.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Good news
Elizabeth M   3/13/2013 5:41:07 AM
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You're probably right, Mydesign, but hey, whatever works. As long as they are researching ways to replace gasoline and oil-based fuels with more environmentally friendly, fuel-efficient options, it's all the kind of work that needs to be done, and quickly.

sensor pro
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Re: Good news
sensor pro   3/13/2013 11:42:04 AM
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I totally agree with you, It is refreshing to see that they actually doing some useful research instead of waistful public relations.

Hope they find something useful.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Good news
Ann R. Thryft   3/13/2013 12:49:03 PM
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sensor pro, not sure what you mean by wasteful PR. The OMEGA project was not just PR--it was real R&D and had some good results. Although I don't believe it was aimed at jet fuel, whereas this one is. Or did you mean something else?



sensor pro
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Re: Good news
sensor pro   3/13/2013 1:07:47 PM
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Whet I ment by wasteful PR is a waste of time that NASA is spending on glorifying the contribution of other nations to space exploration. The waste of time to be politically correct.  If we compare new developments coming out from NASA now to lets say 15 years ago, it is not even close. They lost huge number or engineers and scientists during the cuts of 2 and 3 years ago. I still remember that they coul not find the engineering team to fix the oxygen problem on the space station because they were let go three month earlier. !!!!

Im happy to see some movement on the development side from NASA.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Good news
Ann R. Thryft   3/13/2013 4:41:44 PM
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Thanks for the clarification. I agree that it's good to see some useful and practical R&D coming out of the agency. I can imagine that it's taken quite awhile to recover from not only the staffing cuts, but what they represented in terms of institutional knowledge lost.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Good news
Ann R. Thryft   3/13/2013 4:41:51 PM
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Thanks for the clarification. I agree that it's good to see some useful and practical R&D coming out of the agency. I can imagine that it's taken quite awhile to recover from not only the staffing cuts, but what they represented in terms of institutional knowledge lost.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Good news
Elizabeth M   3/14/2013 7:35:57 AM
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Well yes, but let's not forget, NASA is behind some of the most useful technologies we have today, even though they are not always recognized for it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_spin-off_technologies

But you're right, much better to focus on something that will have use for a greater good than reach for the stars all the time (although those NASA efforts are quite interesting as well and spawn useful technologies while looking to the future).

sensor pro
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Re: Good news
sensor pro   3/14/2013 7:54:52 AM
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In my opinion NASA is one if not the most contributing organisation of new developments and transfer of these developments to general use.

What hurts to see is when an organisation like that is being taken apart piece by piece.

It is important for NASA to spend time of large globaly implicating project while also working on strange stuff ( reaching for the starts ). That what makes NASA this science giant. Imagination and risk should be put together, not political pondering.

I'm extremely happy that finally more and more useful projects are initiated at NASA.

Mydesign
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Re: Good news
Mydesign   3/15/2013 5:07:09 AM
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"but hey, whatever works. As long as they are researching ways to replace gasoline and oil-based fuels with more environmentally friendly, fuel-efficient options, it's all the kind of work that needs to be done, and quickly"

Elizebeth, its only a suggestion for long run. Now a day's most o the automobile engines are converting to hybrid mode.

Pubudu
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Re: Good news
Pubudu   3/16/2013 7:42:09 AM
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Exactly mydesign, it is better to use combination of power sources. Because specially in engine it will use lot of energy to start it and after it is started it will need less power to operate that. 

Mydesign
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Re: Good news
Mydesign   3/22/2013 12:02:43 AM
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"Exactly mydesign, it is better to use combination of power sources. Because specially in engine it will use lot of energy to start it and after it is started it will need less power to operate that. "

Pubudu, now a day's most of the next generation vehicles are hybrid model, where two types of fuels can be injected.  My car is also an hybrid model, where gas and petrol can be used, depends up on usage.

Mydesign
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Bio fuel
Mydesign   3/13/2013 3:59:37 AM
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Ann, that's good initiative from NASA, a pioneer in R&D. I think most of such innovations are coming from NASA and various other defence labs. Once after proving the technology, it's finally transferring to public for addressing common issues. Any idea what's are the ingredients of bio fuel?

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Bio fuel
Ann R. Thryft   3/13/2013 12:46:25 PM
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Mydesign, this one is based on the camelina plant, as we say in the article. It's another relative of mustard and canola, in the Brassica family of plants, and also related to the oilseed plant the Canadians are using in a 100% biofuel jet fuel. The NASA fuel being tested, however, is a 50-50 blend with regular, petro-based JP-8 jet fuel.

Mydesign
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Re: Bio fuel
Mydesign   3/15/2013 5:13:59 AM
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"It's another relative of mustard and canola, in the Brassica family of plants, and also related to the oilseed plant the Canadians are using in a 100% biofuel jet fuel. The NASA fuel being tested, however, is a 50-50 blend with regular, petro-based JP-8 jet fuel."

Ann, you mean that they are planning to do the R&D with a mixture of these two. Any advantage in mixing these two.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Bio fuel
Ann R. Thryft   3/15/2013 12:31:01 PM
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Mydesign, the fuel being tested is a 50% blend, not 100% biofuel: 50% biofuel, 50% JP-8 petro-based standard jet fuel. In general, biofuel usually does not equal the performance of petro-based fuel, especially in transportation fuels. Jet fuel is the one possible exception. If NASA is using a blend, that means the biofuel they're testing is not, or not yet, high performance enough to be used in a 100% formulation.

Mydesign
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Re: Bio fuel
Mydesign   3/21/2013 11:42:20 PM
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"the fuel being tested is a 50% blend, not 100% biofuel: 50% biofuel, 50% JP-8 petro-based standard jet fuel. In general, biofuel usually does not equal the performance of petro-based fuel, especially in transportation fuels. Jet fuel is the one possible exception. If NASA is using a blend, that means the biofuel they're testing is not, or not yet, high performance enough to be used in a 100% formulation."

Ann, thanks for the details. I think a right mix of these two can yield a better performance than individual yield.
 

Pubudu
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Re: Bio fuel
Pubudu   3/16/2013 7:49:51 AM
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True Mydesign after successful identification of applicability it can be use to other issues as well Polyethylene is the best example for this even thou now it has become a enemy of the environment. 

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