NASA Confirms Biofuels Reduce Jet Pollution

Posted: Mar 17 2017, 5:02am CDT | by , Updated: Mar 17 2017, 5:39am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 

NASA Confirms Biofuels Reduce Jet Pollution
The DC-8's four engines burned either JP-8 jet fuel or a 50-50 blend of JP-8 and renewable alternative fuel of hydro processed esters and fatty acids produced from camelina plant oil. Credits: NASA/SSAI Edward Winstead
  • NASA Study Confirms Biofuels Drastically Reduce Jet Engine Pollution
 

NASA has conducted a study on the basis of which it is assuring the public that biofuels will drastically reduce jet pollution.

By using biofuels, jet engines may reduce the quantity of pollutants in the exhaust by up to 70%. Airlines around the world have something new to be joyful about. The economics of jet travel is about to be revolutionized. This is all a result of a study conducted by NASA.

German and Canadian agencies also lent their two cents worth in this project in the conservation of fuel. A leaner and greener airline industry is the goal of these findings which were published in a journal. 

Three to four years ago, NASA collated data that gauged the effect of different fuels on engine output. Also exhaust fumes and contrails were taken into consideration.

Contrails are churned out by hot aircraft engines. The exhaust fumes mix with the cold air at high altitudes and thus water and ice crystals are formed. Refractory contrails are of particular interest to scientists.

That is because they produce persistent and spread-out clouds. These would not normally form in the atmosphere. Thus the planetary environment has another man-made issue added to it’s already growing burdens. 

Then there are soot emissions which cause contrails as well. Cirrus clouds and contrails both have quite an impact on the environment. The study involved a DC-8 airliner which flew at an altitude of 40,000 feet.

NASA's HU-25C Guardian aircraft flies 250 meters behind the agency's DC-8 aircraft on May 14, 2014, before it descends into the DC-8's exhaust plumes to sample ice particles and engine emissions. Credits: National Research Council of Canada

Its engines consumed a fuel that contained a blend of aviation fuel and alternative fuel. The latter contained esters and fatty acids from caermelina plant oil.

The two fuels were present in a 50:50 ratio. Three smaller aircraft trailed the DC-8 in order to observe it at close quarters and see how it functioned in the first place.  

This happens to be the first time that the quantity of soot particles were measured with accuracy and that too when the engines burned a 50-50 blend of aviation and alternative fuel.

The measurements showed a marked difference in the exhaust fumes from the sort of rampant pollution given out by the run-of-the-mill aircraft which run on aviation fuel alone.

It seems that the greener biofuel is something which can come in handy in future times since it will lead to radically reduced air pollution. Not only the airline industry but the air force will also benefit from this state of affairs. 

The findings of this study got published in the journal Nature.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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