General Electric’s research arm and the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (Darpa) have joined forces to develop an entirely bio-based jet fuel to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The main challenge is to make the conversion process efficient. The project envisions a conversion efficiency, by energy content, of crop oil to JP-8 surrogate of between 60 and 85 percent.
Green Flight International last month conducted the first flight of a jet using 100-percent biodiesel fuel. The experimental test flight was flown by an L-29, a military aircraft that is rated to fly on a variety of fuels, including heating oil, making it a “preferred platform” for testing biodiesel in jet engines.
As oil prices remain above the $60 per barrel mark, operators, oil companies and government regulators are showing ever more interest in alternative jet fuels. At a March 8 speech at the U.S.
A provision in the legislation to reauthorize the nation’s surface transportation programs, known as the Highway Bill, would “drastically alter the way the taxes on jet fuel are collected,” according to the National Air Transportation Association. Under the proposal, jet fuel would be taxed at the same 24.4-cent-per-gallon rate as diesel fuel.
A private fuel farm isn’t right for every operator, but it has worked out well for the flight department at Eastman Chemical, Blountville, Tenn., based at Tri-Cities Regional Airport (TRI). The company has had a flight department since 1957 (flying a DC-3) and now operates a pair of Gulfstream IIs and a GIV-SP.
Airliners now entering revenue service will be around for the next few decades, over which time forecasters expect the cost of kerosene to rise significantly. Higher oil extraction costs and likely carbon dioxide (CO2) emission limits will no doubt radically alter air transport economics. The industry will simultaneously have to drastically reduce CO2 emissions from aircraft engines and find alternative fuels for them.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina the surge in auto-fuel prices–with the per-gallon increases lagging just hours behind the rising flood waters–was at the forefront of everybody’s mind. A flurry of activity on the political front–including the release of six million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve–further focused the nation’s attention on the cost of keeping America’s engines running.
Although pilots often overlook evaluating the quality of the fuel they pump into their aircraft, fuel quality warrants a close look.
There is an instance of pilots finding milk in their fuel tanks. No one ever determined how the milk found its way into the aircraft.
If the provision is accepted by the House and the bill signed by the President, all aviation fuel will be taxed at the same rate as highway diesel fuel–24.4 cents per gallon. The purchaser would then have to submit a claim to the Internal Revenue Service to receive the difference between the 24.4 cents paid and the 21.8 cents per gallon actually owed.
- Page 4