According to a new study, using a biofuel mixture in commercial flights may help clear up the sky. However, there a number of others steps which must be taken before reaching this stage.
What Is This Biofuel Mixture?
The aerospace industry reported significant changes in terms of its fuel efficiency. Planes flying nowadays have a 70 percent more efficient such ratio when compared to the 1960’s. But even so, they are still responsible for releasing significant quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere. In 2015, this quantity amounted to 781 million tons or around 2 percent of all human-generated CO2.
As it is, industry players are looking for a more efficient and environmentally friendly solution. As such, some started analyzing the use of biofuel. This can be made from various natural sources. Usually, most such products are made from plants or even algae.
Back in 2013 and 2014, an international team of researchers carried out a series of tests. These were based on the use of a biofuel mixture in powering planes. The test plane was a NASA DC-8. Earlier this week, the team released its study results. These were published in the Nature journal. The paper was titled: “Biofuel blending reduces particle emission from aircraft engines at cruise conditions”.
According to the results, using a biofuel mixture could help clear up the skies. This was determined as follows. For the tests, the team flew the NASA DC-8 with a mixture of both normal jet fuel and biofuel. These were present in equal, 50 – 50 percentages.
Then, they sent small chase planes after the DC-8. These flew 100 to 500 feet behind the aircraft and carried out specific measurements. Their purpose was to measure DC-8’s emission levels.
They reported quite a significant difference. By using the biofuel mixture, they decreased by about 50 to 70 percent. But this was not the only effect. Besides clearing up the sky, the mixture also reduced the contrails. These latter trap heat bellow them which can lead to a temperature increase of up to 10 degrees Celsius.
A Biofuel Mixture May Lead To 100% Biofuel Usage?
The flight industry is reportedly looking to completely reduce the emission levels. In order to do so, they are targeting a 100 percent use of biofuels. However, there are still a few more steps to take before this can be achieved.
According to Anthony Brown “Incrementally, researching the use of biofuels in jet transport aircraft is a piece-by-piece, step-by-step process.”
Brown is part of the Canadian National Research Council and also a member of the current research. He also took part in a series of other similar tests.
As it is, the industry still has to face a few challenges before turning to a complete biofuel use. One such element is the cost, for example. While conventional fuel costs around $4 a gallon, biofuel can reach $18 a gallon.
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