Testing underway right now
Last year homemade biofuel for diesel cars made from left over cooking oil was news for many folks trying to save money on fuel. While that homemade diesel fuel was not something that most folks were interested in, Biofuels made from things like old cooking oil that we would throw away are an area of intense study all around the world.
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NASA is currently studying the use of something that most of us would never think could make jet fuel - chicken fat. That is something I always cut off and toss in the trash. A team of researchers at NASA loaded up an RV at the Langley Research Center and made a cross-country trip to run an experiment with the new eco friendly fuel. The team drove 2,600 miles to NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center. The fuel the team was there to test is called the Hydrotreated Renewable Jet Fuel on a NASA DC-8 test aircraft to measure performance and emissions. The testing on the new fuel is part of the AAFEX II or Alternative Aviation Fuel Experiment II program.
"It's made out of chicken fat, actually," said Langley's Bruce Anderson, AAFEX II project scientist. "The Air Force bought many thousands of gallons of this to burn in some of their jets and provided about 8,000 gallons (30,283 liters) to NASA for this experiment."
The team of researchers is measuring the performance of the aircraft with a 50-50 mix of the biofuel and regular jet fuel, biofuel only, and jet fuel only. The jet fuel being used is standard JP-8. The chicken fat-based biofuel was provided to NASA by the air force. The USAF purchased "thousands and thousands" of gallons of the fuel to burn in their jets.
"NASA Dryden is excited to continue contributing to the study of alternative fuels for aviation use," said Frank Cutler, NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory project manager. "These tests will assess exhaust emissions generated by modern turbine aircraft engines using man-made fuels."