Cooking oil into jet fuel sounds like a worthy effort, although I would rather that any risks of engine problems were more down to earth. I think that I have seen the process done in a "garage lab", my recollection is that it used a hot plate, and I have no idea what else. So how much energy is needed for the conversion as opposed to refining it from crude oil? Does anybody know? Or is it just that used cooking oil is a renewable resource, and quite an inexpensive feedstock?
Rob, jet fuel, whether petro-based, bio-based or a blend, is a quite different formulation from fuels made for automobile engines. Also, the fuel used depends on whether those engines were modified. In most cases, the oil has to be processed to various extents before it's usable as fuel.
I would expect the fryer oil supply to slowly dwindle as big brother forces us to give up fried food (bad for your health). Maybe this will change their minds and allow us to eat fried food to help fuel the planes!
Ann, do you have access to any volume numbers regarding this fuel? For instance, what capacity is the KLM jet, and what capacity a typical fast food fryer has (and how often the fryer oil gets changed)? It would give us an idea of how far-reaching this fuel will be?
The practices of Willie Nelson and Neil Young can't be all bad. Both of those muscians have used old cooking oil to fuel their tour busses. But let's hope the pilots on the transatlantic fights are using a different fuel from that used by Willie and Neil to power themselves.
Thanks, Elizabeth, I appreciate your enthusiasm. And I enjoy finding and writing these stories. Although the subject is very different from robotics, these achievements also remind me of a lot of science fiction I read in the 60s ands 70s.
You know by now I'm sure that I love reading about these stories. This is great news. I know a few people with cars that run on used cooking oil, so it's good to see it being used on a larger scale. And you're right, it's such a high-profile story it should get others looking more seriously at biofuels if they haven't already. Thanks for keeping up with this coverage.
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.