As government and industry plan for more environmentally friendly energy sources, companies continue to invest in and research alternative fuels for aviation. The U.S. Air Force, one of the government’s largest consumers of fuel, for example, has set a goal that 50 percent of its fuel purchases be composed of domestic synthetic fuel blends by 2016, while IATA has presented a target of 10-percent alternative fuel use for its members by 2017.
Purdue University has received a $1.35 million grant from the U.S. Air Force to establish a new facility to test aircraft engines and develop alternative fuels. The National Test Facility for Fuels and Propulsion–which is expected to open late this year or early next–will be located at Purdue Airport in the school’s Niswonger Aviation Technology Building.
The prospect of synthetic fuel qualification took an important step closer to reality last month when ASTM International’s aviation fuels subcommittee passed a new specification for alternative jet fuel. The new specification details the properties and criteria required to control the production and quality of synthetic fuels for aviation use.
The possibility of commercially available synthetic jet fuels took a step closer to reality last week when ASTM International’s aviation fuels subcommittee passed a new specification for alternative jet fuel. The new specification details the properties and criteria required to control the production and quality of synthetic fuels for aviation use.
Aviation will become greener in small steps rather than the giant leaps hoped
Honeywell Aerospace is gearing up for biofuel tests on its APUs and engines this summer in a bid to stay ahead of the alternative fuel push. The company plans to run a business jet engine and an airliner APU fueled by a mix of jatropha and algae oils from sister company UOP, which has blended various fuels for more than 100 years.
With pressure increasing on the Environmental Protection Agency to mandate elimination of tetraethyl lead from avgas, Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM) has stepped up research into alternative fuels for aircraft piston engines.
Business and general aviation will likely be “slow adopters” of alternative fuel unless they have significant incentive, such as price, according to Frost & Sullivan research analysts.
Airbus and Shell recently made the first ever commercial flight using liquid fuel processed from gas when an A380 airliner flew from Filton in the UK to the airframer’s Toulouse, France headquarters. The flight marked the start of a program to evaluate the environmental impact of alternative fuels in the airline market.
The December nonstop coast-to-coast flight of an Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster III using a synthetic fuel blend, the first for the type, is the latest indicator that such fuels are moving toward widespread acceptance in the aviation industry.