Planes of the Future Could Fly on Sawdust or Straw
by Jean Décotte (Reuters) * A horsey twist to the search for alternative aviation fuel
* French project targets use of farm waste on a large scale
* Inventor dismisses fears of biofuel vs food competition
Passenger jets could be chomping on straw or flying on fuel extracted from sawdust in coming years as the search widens for cleaner alternatives to kerosene, French scientists say.
The “ProBio3″ project, started in early July and co-financed by a French government economic stimulus programme, aims to use traditional horse-bedding materials to develop a new kind of biofuel that can be used in a 50/50 blend alongside kerosene.
…But European planemaker Airbus, one of the programme’s backers, believes woodchips and agricultural waste could be alternative fuel sources of the future.
With a budget of 24.6 million euros ($32.1 million) over eight years, ProBio3 aims to set up a profitable production chain for hydroprocessed oils, a type of biofuel which has been certified by international standards organisation ASTM as useable for aviation in combination with kerosene.
…(Carole) Molina-Jouve dismissed any concern that biofuel production would divert food crops at a time when commodity prices have been soaring. “The project will focus on non-food biomass,” she said.
…Biofuels should help cut down the aerospace industry’s carbon footprint while using renewable energy sources, said Jean Botti, chief technical officer of Airbus parent EADS. READ MORE