Renewable Biomethane – an Economic Alternative?

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Compressed natural gas (CNG) has several things going for it.  It is cheaper than gasoline or diesel fuel, has lower emissions, and for a conventional piston-engined airplane, is the equivalent of over 130 octane, far more powerful than 100-octane low lead (100LL) and cleaner burning. CNG Fuels in England CNG filling stations are growing across the country as fleet owners take advantage of the economics of converting their vehicles, but are still few and far between in the west, with the exception of California.  There are under 900 stations throughout America.  Alluring as CNG might be for drivers, pilots used to paying $5.50 per gallon for avgas should be charmed by CNG’s price of $1.00 per gallon equivalent. That is …

Gleaning the Forests for Jet Fuel

Dean Sigler Announcements, Biofuels, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Three congresspeople flew on wood-waste fumes this week, aboard an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 on its way from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEATAC) to Washington, DC.  It was the first commercial flight to “to be powered by a blend of renewable jet fuel made from forest residuals.” Waste Products Replace Fossil Fuels Alaska, Boeing, and SEATAC have partnered on including biofuels in the mix since early 2015, as reported here.  Later that year, United made flights out of Los Angeles International (LAX) using a blend of fossil-based jet fuel and biofuels made from farm and municipal waste.  Keeping waste out of landfills and producing a lower carbon-footprint fuel has several benefits.  In the case of forest waste, those branches, limbs and …

SeaTac, Boeing, Alaska Airlines Partner on Biofuel

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Aviation accounts for about two-to-three percent of the total CO2 emitted through burning fossil fuels, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). That’s even with military jets flashing their afterburners and trailing un-enhanced high-altitude contrails. Whether these emissions add to global warming or global cooling seems to be still open to debate. Regardless, almost everyone in the industry feels it is worth eliminating the negative aspects of aircraft emissions. Sea-Tac’s Big Plan Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Alaska Airlines and Boeing are partnering to power all flights from Sea-Tac with “sustainable aviation biofuel.” The trio has crafted a long-term roadmap to devise an infrastructure “in a cost-effective, efficient manner.” There may be benefits to the local economy, as well as to …

Farm and Municipal Waste to Bio Jet Fuel

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

United Airlines has united with two partners, AltAir Fuels and Fulcrum BioEnergy, to fly on sustainable alternative fuels.  Think of each flight being cleaner, using what formerly were unusable, land-fill-bound waste products, and certain to make United more sustainable, and flights less costly. Earlier efforts at producing biofuels relied on converting food, such as corn, into fuel, an uneconomical process that raised food prices and often used more energy than it produced in ethanol, for instance.  This was not sustainable and didn’t allow economic benefits for its users, so fell into disrepute quickly. Organizations like the United Nations spoke out against taking grains from the poorest among us to make fuels for jetsetters.  In their 2009 report, UNEP, the United …

Electric Tugs at Sea-Tac Lower Costs, Emissions

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Green Air Online reports that Seattle-Tacoma Airport (Sea-Tac) has launched a “$31 million project to provide nearly 600 electric charging stations for ground support equipment (GSE) such as baggage tugs, bag ramps and pushback vehicles.”  Besides saving “around $2.8 million in airline fuel costs,” the conversion will reduce greenhouse gas emissions around 10,000 tons per year.  Alaska Airlines will swap 204 fossil-fuel burning GSEs to electric and its partner Horizon Airlines will trade in 58.  More airlines are going to join the program later this year.  Federal grants and funding from the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sweeten the transition for participants. “This project provides the infrastructure for airlines to convert their vehicles …

Measuring Up To Standards

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, develops “international consensus standards” for many industries, using input from its members in many fields and disciplines.  Their D-7566-11 “Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons” governs what can be put into jet and turbo-prop aircraft.  Updated in July 2011, it now allows the use of biologically-derived fuel “without the need for special permissions,” according to SAE International, itself a standards organization, and as reported by Patrick Ponticel. United Airlines was quick to take advantage of the revised standard, using “Solazyme-supplied algae oil that was refined into jet fuel by Honeywell’s UOP division near Houston. The blend used for the November 7, Boeing 737-800 flight was 40-percent …