First Civil Jet Flies on 100 Percent Non-Food Biofuel
Canada's National Research Council and the Canadian Space Agency have used the Falcon 20 jet, with modified hydraulic and aircraft fuel systems, for performing parabolic flight maneuvers in microgravity experiments. (Source: Canadian Space Agency)
Excellent Post Ann. I think this is a great step in the right direction. Every engineer realizes we are years away, if ever, from eliminating our complete dependence upon fossil fuels BUT, advances such as this can insure we maintain usable quantities for future generations. Finding a suitable substitute for food grade biomass is truly a significant breakthrough. As with every thing else, I suspect the cost will lessen as time goes by the technology to improve yields will increase. Again--great article.
Thanks for clarifying, jhankwitz. What will get costs down is higher volumes, which means we have to start somewhere. I think this is one of those areas where government can help, and apparently the Canadians (and Europeans) agree.
jhankwitz, I don't know where you live, but I'm in California, with the highest gasoline costs in the nation. While I'd rather not pay more for anything--who would?--I pay more for gasoline without complaint knowing that we are meeting higher standards for clean air.
This is great news! Advancements in bio fuel are the way forward for reducing dependence on oil and running cleaner vehicles across the board. Bravo to the airline industry for doing this type of research. I personally hope it leads to more success in the future and eventually the predominant use of this kind of biofuel. Thanks for covering.
I agree, Ann. The whole business of creating biofuels will likely go through many permutations before the industry settles on a few paths that are efficient and meet evolving regulations. This test, however, is just one more indication that there will be a significant biofuel industry.
Zippy, the smell of french fries may be prevalent in recycled cooking oil from restaurants used in cars with converted engines, but it's got nothing to do with commercial biofuels. Biofuels are derived from specifically grown crops, food-based or otherwise, produced with a variety of processes. To date, the main reasons biofuels have been blended with petro-based fuels have been a) performance and b) cost.
Ann, outside of the potential cost and availability issues, are there any technical reasons that a biofuel cannot be substituted 100% for aviation purposes? Other than the pervasive smell of french fries at the airports, of course... :)
Thanks, Rob. I think regardless of any other factors or considerations, the fact that this jet flew successfully on 100% biofuel is a very encouraging development. The jump from 30 to 50% in blends to 100% is insanely high, and a major first.
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SpaceX has 3D printed and successfully hot-fired a SuperDraco engine chamber made of Inconel, a high-performance superalloy, using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The company's first 3D-printed rocket engine part, a main oxidizer valve body for the Falcon 9 rocket, launched in January and is now qualified on all Falcon 9 flights.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and MIT have 3D-printed a new class of metamaterials that are both exceptionally light and have exceptional strength and stiffness. The new metamaterials maintain a nearly constant stiffness per unit of mass density, over three orders of magnitude.
Smart composites that let the material's structural health be monitored automatically and continuously are getting closer to reality. R&D partners in an EU-sponsored project have demonstrated what they say is the first complete, miniaturized, fiber-optic sensor system entirely embedded inside a fiber-reinforced composite.
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