Clean Jet Fuel from the Air?

Dean Sigler Announcements, Biofuels, Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

What if we could suck carbon from the air, make clean jet fuel out of it, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using this fuel in our airliners?  That’s a dream pursued by many researchers, and recently Rotterdam the Hague Airport announced a study to sort out the plausibility of such a plan.  First, though, we need to look at the numbers for how much fossil fuel would have to be replaced. These are Big Numbers How much fuel goes into a large jetliner?  How efficiently is it used?  These are matters of concern to airline executives on a profit-and-loss basis, and to all of us on an environmental basis.  Let’s look at the Boeing 787 Dreamliner variants for an …

Electric Propulsion for Big Birds

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Graham Warwick reports in the August 25 Aviation Week that NASA is investigating the creation of megawatt-scale electric propulsion systems for airliners.  These would be much more powerful than those in cars or even semi-trucks, and far lighter than equivalent units in ships. NASA’s research involves partnering with the University of Illinois, Ohio State University, General Electric, and Boeing.  NASA Glenn Research Center is working on its own self-cooled, superconducting wound field synchronous motor as part of the overall effort. NASA’s focus, according to the article, “is on electric machines that can be used as generators (sources) and motors (loads) and power electronics that convert AC to DC (rectifiers) and DC to AC (inverters).”  Research includes wiring systems that can distribute …

Flying More Economical, Less Polluting Than Driving?

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Ilan Kroo, in a 2014 Electric Aircraft Symposium presentation, showed that a “narrow-body” airliner (for example, the Boeing 737-800) is able to fly one passenger coast-to-coast on 29 gallons of fuel, at about 81 passenger miles per gallon.  Driving responsibly, a carpool of four or five in a Prius could show greater operational economy, but take about 40 or more hours to make the trip (and lots of breaks) compared to the five hours in one jump it takes the Boeing.  Worse, the same Prius is often stuck in gridlock traffic for short drives with only the driver on board.  Even a hybrid’s mileage suffers under such circumstances. Several popular publications have taken up that “meme” in the last week.  …

Noise or Emissions – We Can Do Without Both

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

GreenAirOnline, a web report on mainly airline attempts to promote environmentally-friendly flying, has two not-unrelated stories in today’s edition. Noise abatement is a major issue for British airports, especially those in the southeast, according to the first story.  Kate Jennings, Head of Aviation Policy Implementation at the Department for Transport, says the government recognizes that it is a “particularly contentious issue.” Even though noise has been reduced for individual flights, flight frequency has increased and measured noise footprints don’t always match the perceived noise levels that drew public complaints, Ms. Jennings reported. “That’s why at an ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organizaton) and political level we need to keep the pressure on to identify ways of further reducing noise and there …