Alternative jet fuels cut particulate matter emissions

Nov 14, 2011

Conventional jet fuel mixed with alternative fuels has been shown to cut particulate matter emissions from a plane's engine by nearly 40 percent, according to a recent study by researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

The study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Environmental Science and Technology, tested two types of alternative jet fuels: biofuels made from , and fuels made with the Fischer-Tropsch process, which creates from coal, natural gas or biomass.

Researchers in Missouri S&T's Center of Excellence for Aerospace Particulate Emissions Reduction Research tested the fuels in the same type of jet engine used in Boeing 737s. Using equipment that captures and measures exhaust, the researchers studied emissions while the engine power was set at different levels to simulate an airplane's taxi, descent to an airport, climb and takeoff.

They found that the more alternative fuel they blended with the jet fuel, the lower the particulate matter emissions. But they also discovered that the only fuel that was a viable alternative for commercial or military use was a 50-50 blend of Fischer-Tropsch fuel and . It reduced particulate matter mass emissions by 39 percent.

Prem Lobo, assistant director of the Center of Excellence for Aerospace Particulate Emissions Reduction Research, was the lead author of the paper. Co-authors were Dr. Philip Whitefield, interim vice provost for academic affairs, professor of chemistry and director of the center, and Dr. Donald E. Hagen, professor of physics and a researcher at the center.

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SteveL
not rated yet Nov 14, 2011
I wonder how this ratio would work under actual cruising speeds, where the most fuel by volume is actually used. I also wonder what the energy in vs. energy out ratio is for the F-T process. That could help us to understand if a lower particulate fuel mixture (only particulates were mentioned here) is worth the expense of even more fossel fuels. Also, some bio-fuels have been known to have nasty VOC's.
Schaps
not rated yet Nov 15, 2011
Biofuels are an obvious alternative but NOT the solution to the longterm hazards of using fossil fuel. Research should ( IMO) rather focus on alternative power sources for aviation. Jet A now averages $5.75/ gallon vs. $1.75 when I first started flying jets in 1998.