Navy Funds Development of Tool to Model Biofuel Performance
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)
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
The implementation of a new diesel fuel standard in the US has considerably improved the environmental performance of diesel vehicles. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that the new ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel has combined with other improved technologies to reduce diesel's particulate matter (PM) emissions by 99%.
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