Print 11 comment(s) - last by MozeeToby.. on Oct 25 at 1:33 PM

The red giant is looking to "go green"

The Chinese government has struggled with so-called "gutter oil".  Formed from used cooking oil -- or sometimes from vat-cooked rotten or discarded animal parts -- the low-quality oil is often resold to unsuspecting customers who then use it to cook customers' food.  Gutter oil is hard to identify, but it does come with some dire health effects like diarrhea and abdominal pain.  Worse, some evidence indicates it can cause cancer in adults and developmental disabilities in children.

A joint research institute founded by China's state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) and the world's largest aerospace company, The Boeing Comp. (BA), is aiming to provide a legal alternative by refining gutter oil into biofuel that can be used to fuel aircraft.

In August the pair founded the Beijing Aeronautical Science and Technology Research Institute (BASTRI) -- an institute that collaborates with Chinese universities on cutting edge aerospace research.  BASTRI's Aviation Energy Conservation and Emissions Reductions Technology Center will be partnering with a Chinese green energy company -- Hangzhou Energy Engineering & Technology, Comp., Ltd., (HEET) -- on its first major project, the jet biofuel initiative.

Dong Yang Wu, vice president of Boeing Research & Technology - China - commented, "HEET is a strong partner for the Boeing-COMAC technology center's 'gutter oil' research project.  We are excited about opportunities to partner with leading research capabilities in China to accelerate the global push for renewable jet fuels and support commercial aviation's growth while reducing its environmental footprint.

gutter oil
Amid a health epidemic caused by so-called "gutter oil", China's state owned aircraft company hopes to push merchants to instead reprocess the waste oil into jet fuel.
[Image Source: eChinacities]

Currently, China uses 29 million tons of cooking oil a year, while also consuming 20 million tons of jet fuel.  With demand for jet fuel on the rise, there's a strong impetus to find affordable ways to convert China's massive stock of waste oil to fuel for aircraft.

Qin Fuguang, president of BASTRI, COMAC, comments, "China is the world's fastest growing aviation market and the biggest consumer of cooking oil. There's great potential for converting the waste cooking oil into sustainable aviation fuel. It's a good opportunity for Boeing, HEET and COMAC to work together and make efforts to protect the environment."

China is not alone in pursuing biofuels for use as jet fuel.  The U.S. military has been testing aircraft biofuels, including algal fuels.  Air New ZealandVirgin Airlines, and Lufthansa have all been testing flights powered by biofuel, as well.  The issue of fuel expenses is a particularly sore issue for the U.S. where rampant obesity causes the U.S. airline industry to have to pay $275M USD more per year than their foreign peers.

Source: Beoing

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Turbines Eat Anything
By heerohawwah on 10/24/2012 6:23:30 PM , Rating: 1
Having worked on numerous jet engines used in industrial applictions like power generation and compression; I feeling inclinded point out that jet engines can handle practically any type of fuel, from natural gas to cooking oil, really anything flamable. If it burns the engine will run on it just fine, its only a matter of tweaking. And when combined with water injection or other NOX controls its pretty freaking environmental too.

RE: Turbines Eat Anything
By wordsworm on 10/24/2012 8:52:55 PM , Rating: 2
My guess is that while a jet engine might be able to consume the fuels as you say, but I would be surprised if all oils would be practical for jet propulsion. Surely different fuels provide different thrust.

RE: Turbines Eat Anything
By MozeeToby on 10/25/2012 1:33:14 PM , Rating: 2
Biodiesel (which is what this would essentially be) does have less energy density than jet fuel by about 15% in terms of mass. However, biodiesel is also denser than jet fuel by a few percentage points, so in terms of volume the two are quite comparable. You'll get less range out of a biodiesel fueled airplane because of the increased weight but otherwise the two fuels are practically interchangeable.

RE: Turbines Eat Anything
By Phoenix7 on 10/24/2012 9:07:42 PM , Rating: 2
Forgive me for being a noob, but is there any key reason why cars would be less flexible with fuel sources; in terms of what type of oil can be burned?

RE: Turbines Eat Anything
By Shig on 10/25/2012 12:58:32 AM , Rating: 2
Lower grade fuels tend to be more corrosive to engine components. You'd need to invest in higher strength and higher durability components.

We always hear about hybrids, electric cars, and hydrogen cars, but I've read that converting a car to run on Methanol (widely available and easy to make) would only cost in the area of hundreds of dollars.

Sorry got a little off topic. On topic -> Jet Engine car pls XD

RE: Turbines Eat Anything
By freedom4556 on 10/25/2012 2:25:38 AM , Rating: 3
It has to do with a combination of factors like octane, viscosity, stoichiometric ratio of the fuel, how corrosive it is, and how cleanly it burns that determines whether or not a piston-based ICE can run on it. Jet engines are more flexible on several of those factors and the combustion temperatures can get much higher and they're much more volumetrically efficient, etc. The army does have motorcycles and the like that can run on any hydrocarbon in a certain molecular weight range from gas, diesel, LPG, CNG, butane, kerosene, etc. It's not that piston engines can't do it, it's just easier with better results with jet engines.

RE: Turbines Eat Anything
By FaaR on 10/25/2012 6:59:13 AM , Rating: 2
The main concerns with using a biologically derived fuel would probably be to make sure the fuel doesn't oxidize, rot, or give rise to bacterial growth for example. Also, not gunk up the works, like fuel lines, pumps, filters, nozzles and so on. And not clog the engine with excessive soot buildup, etcetera.

If those issues - to the extent they may apply - and anything else I haven't thought of are solved, this would be an incredible boon to society.

Anyway, death to the scum who actually sell this filth to other people. Greed absolutely brings out the ugliest aspects of humanity.

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