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Materials & Assembly
Navy Funds Development of Tool to Model Biofuel Performance
6/25/2012

The Navy has granted University of Wisconsin researchers $2 million to develop a tool that can model the performance of biofuels to help identify one it can use to power aircraft carriers, like the one shown, as well as submarines and other seafaring vehicles. The work is part of the military's ongoing interest in exploring alternative methods to fossil fuels for energy.   (Source: Navy)
The Navy has granted University of Wisconsin researchers $2 million to develop a tool that can model the performance of biofuels to help identify one it can use to power aircraft carriers, like the one shown, as well as submarines and other seafaring vehicles. The work is part of the military's ongoing interest in exploring alternative methods to fossil fuels for energy.
(Source: Navy)

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Rob Spiegel
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Simulation for Biofuel
Rob Spiegel   6/25/2012 12:18:45 PM
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What an interesting idea. Instead of moving through the long and laborious process of testing each fuel, you can use simulation to determine whether the fuel will work and how it will work.  

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Simulation for Biofuel
Ann R. Thryft   6/25/2012 12:52:17 PM
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I agree--what a great idea. Glad the Navy is funding this research: it will have applications for the private sector, also.

Greg M. Jung
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Working Smart
Greg M. Jung   6/25/2012 9:05:04 PM
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Clever.  This is really working smart by eliminating the obvious possibilities before spending time and money on the real candidates.  In this case, I feel my tax dollars are being well-spent.

Mydesign
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Re: Simulation for Biofuel
Mydesign   6/26/2012 5:13:15 AM
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Ann, true. Most of the advance research outputs are from defence research labs and later on the technologies are transferring to public/private companies for common man benefits. Hopefully we can expect the similar path in case of bio fuel also.

NadineJ
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Re: Simulation for Biofuel
NadineJ   6/26/2012 12:24:26 PM
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Seems like agood idea but I think auto manufacturers would need a strong incentive to use it in the private sector.  If the research labs for BMW or Mercedes used this, it would be a boost and others would follow.  German engineers have been very resistant to alternative fuels.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Simulation for Biofuel
Ann R. Thryft   6/26/2012 1:17:55 PM
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That military-to-private-sector technology development flow is what used to be the case with electronics back in the day (60s, 70s, even 80s), but changed when the whole military picture changed in the late 80s. Now it seems like in other, non-electronics technologies, especially alternative energy, that the military is back in the invention business again, or at least funding it, like they are with a lot of robotics research.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Simulation for Biofuel
Ann R. Thryft   6/26/2012 1:21:55 PM
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Nadine, that's an interesting comment: "German engineers have been very resistant to alternative fuels." From what I've read, in general biofuels have become more common in road transportation in Europe. Can you tell us more? Do you mean automotive engineers, for instance?

NadineJ
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Re: Simulation for Biofuel
NadineJ   6/26/2012 1:55:59 PM
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Ann-"From what I've read, in general biofuels have become more common in road transportation in Europe." Yes, they are more common but not fully embraced by luxury car owners/designers.

I look at multiple international sources for infomation.  The first time I heard about the biofuel backlash was while watching DW a couple of years ago.  A new biofuel was made readily available to consumers across Germany.  The reaction from luxury car drivers was intense.  "I wouldn't put that crap in my car" was expressed repeatedly.  The story went on the interview automotive designers and engineers who were more diplomatic but agreed with the consumers.

I've seen and heard this sentiment repeated, primarily out of Germany, since then.  Some luxury designers and engineers in the US are starting to echo this attitude.

I think it just comes from discomfort with the new fuels.  It's hard to think something designed to purr on fossil fuel will still run as well on a new source.  This tool from the ONR and UW could help progress move faster.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Simulation for Biofuel
Ann R. Thryft   6/27/2012 1:14:25 PM
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Nadine, thanks for the detailed feedback. I think the fact that you were referring to luxury car owners makes a certain amount of sense. BTW, what is "DW"?

NadineJ
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Re: Simulation for Biofuel
NadineJ   6/27/2012 6:11:00 PM
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Ann-DW is Duetsche Welle.  International news broadcaster out of Germany.  Similar to BBC (UK) or CBC (Canada).

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