Wed, Mar 01, 2006
Burns Cleaner, Cheaper Than JP-8
Alternative fuels have
been in the news for some time, and especially after President
Bush's state of the union speech earlier this month -- but until
now, those stories have focused almost exclusively on automobiles.
What about airplanes?
The Associated Press reports University of North Dakota
researchers say they've developed an alternative to jet fuel that
burns cooler and is more eco-friendly than conventional JP-8. The
fuel is derived from crop oils, which also results in lower cost --
about 40 cents per gallon less than the military currently pays for
its jet fuel.
UND chemical engineering students, working with faculty from the
School of Engineering and Mines at the college, have been working
with scientists from the Energy and Environmental Research Center
for the past four years to develop the new jet fuel, senior EERC
researcher Ted Aulich said.
While the new fuel sounds promising, there is a "sticking point"
-- the new fuel's tendency to congeal when stored over long
periods. Also, the new fuel must burn below the military-spec
requirement of the minus-50 degrees Celsius -- but researchers say
they've been able to burn the new fuel at temperatures 10 degrees
cooler than that.
All work is preliminary... but the Air Force will begin testing
the new fuel this spring in a lab at Wright-Patterson Air Force
Base in Ohio.
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