Biofuels: Better for Airplanes, Too?
by Margaret Ryan (AOLEnergy) Biofuels could be a “game changer” for both military and commercial aviation, says Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Terry Yonkers, because they’re proving to have advantages over petroleum-based jet fuels that go beyond the environment.
…Burning biofuels is considered neutral for greenhouse gases because they release only carbon dioxide the plants absorbed while growing.
Both fuels can be blended with petroleum-based feedstocks, or burned alone if engines are adapted to them. Both the Defense Department and commercial airlines have been testing out various blends to make sure they perform at least as well as conventional fuels in real flight conditions – so far with success in both sectors.
…Both are made from domestic feedstocks rather than imported sources, and an original goal was to add security to the military’s fuel supply.
But the testing has found unexpected benefits, he said. “Our tests show that these fuels burn cleaner and cooler.”
…Lower burn temperatures in particular make a substantial difference in engine materials fatigue, and consequently engine life. Testing indicates “we can get 10 times as many hours on drop-in biofuels as on conventional fuels,” Yonkers said.