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fuel issue

Posted by: Nerroth - Wed Sep 29, 2004 2:15 pm
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fuel issue 
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Post fuel issue   Posted on: Wed Sep 29, 2004 2:15 pm
Hi,

As you may or not be aware, there has been a considerable amount of development from various car manufacturers such as GM, Ford etc in the development of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (while neglecting to inform us on how they plan to reform the processes by which they actually construct the vehicles and whether the materials used in these new cars are themselves recyclable...) but as of yet there has been hardly any public discussion on how to escape the need for fossil fuels in the powering of aircraft.

The rate at which the world's oil reserves is diminishing is an issue for every system which is dependant on its derivatives, from kerosene to petrol, and any vessel attmepting to fly either a short-haul from Dublin to Paris or enter an altitude to allow launch of a sub-orbital craft will suffer as oil becomes increasingly scarce, plus the pollution caused by fossil fuels and the dangers posed by global warming make it all the more important to remove the requirement to use oil derivatives (or any carbon-pollutiong fuel) in aircraft.

What kind of fuels will need to be researched to avoid the ecological and financial dangers posed by our current reliance on kerosene in the aviation industry?

Gary


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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 30, 2004 3:24 pm
I am fairly confident the need in the future will lead to mass production of biomass-based fuel oils similar or equal to modern day petrol. The main reason why current technologies offer no economically conceivable alternatives to fossil fuels is the lack of interest, in my opinion at least. It's much more (financially) reasonable to trickle small amounts of money into research to have some advantage when the need becomes acute than to put major funds into research now and risk bankruptcy.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 30, 2004 5:22 pm
Firstly, no one really worries that much about aircraft fuel because they use very little compared to all of the cars in the world, and as aircraft fuel has a much larger profit margin than petrol, they will get what little is still being pumped when the main reservoirs run out.

However, for alternatives, both hydrogen and alcohol based fuels are quite possible, and have both been tested in the past.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 01, 2004 4:21 pm
There was some research in catalyzed soybean oil added to jet fuel. It reduces the fossil fuel needs and makes for cleaner exhaust.

The other thing to remember is that aircraft fuel is a tricky beast. It has to stay fluid at low temperatures, not burst into too many flames upon impact, etc. On the other hand, gas turbine engines can burn anything that can be ignited, although it may take some tweaks to the engine, depending.

Standard Biodiesel fuel will burn just fine, but it's not safe.

On the other side of things, and I didn't realize this until very recently, you can (but often shouldn't) burn Jet fuel in a diesel engine. They are now making diesel piston engines that burn Jet-A for light planes.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 02, 2004 4:48 pm
One issue I have with the current reliance on fossil fuels for aircraft engines is due to the carbon emission and other pollutants caused by its use as fuel, and while there are far less planes than cars pumping out carbon, it would be better if we could develop a fuel source which did not have any carbon emissions - so we can try to avoid losing the arctic and antarctic ice caps...

One idea I have heard is the development of new generation airships which can reach high altitudes and cut down on the travel time required for airship travel, though this would only become a major option when the use of oil-based too dangerous envrionmentally and too costly economically to remain viable.

Gary


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 02, 2004 6:44 pm
One word... "hydrogen" There is no reason not to use it in aircraft too.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 02, 2004 7:22 pm
Rubbernecker wrote:
One word... "hydrogen" There is no reason not to use it in aircraft too.


Low density. Liquid hydrogen tanks have to be several times larger than kerosene tanks for the same amount of energy stored. Plus there's all the associated difficulties in handling cryogenic fuels...


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Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 03, 2004 12:44 am
Stellvia wrote:
Low density. Liquid hydrogen tanks have to be several times larger than kerosene tanks for the same amount of energy stored. Plus there's all the associated difficulties in handling cryogenic fuels...


I direct you to this page... http://www.bellona.no/imaker?id=11403%E2%8A%82=1

Yes more work must be done, however IMO it seems the best direction to take.

Perhaps when solid state storage of hydrogen is further along, it could be considered. It already stores more than either compressed or liquid for the same volume, and is several times safer than any liquid fuel storage we use now. Disadvantage is obvoiusly weight. :)


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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 05, 2004 4:10 am
There's the possibility of nuclear powered planes. http://popularmechanics.com/science/aviation/2004/5/atomic_wings/print.phtml

I'm not sure how useful that would be for rockets but I think with stuff ike Thermal depolymerization coming online along with bio-fuels and corn that grows plastic kernals there will always be a source for kerosene that will cover the needs of rockets.

If you're going to worry about the possible ramifications of a dwindling oil supply, fuel for planes and rockets really is the least of our concerns.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 05, 2004 8:35 am
TJ wrote:
There's the possibility of nuclear powered planes.


I think that the fears with these are to do with the question "what happens if one crashes / is blown up by terrorists / other apocalyptic scenario".

Mind you, they are going to be using a nuclear drive in a new NASA probe (whose name I've forgotten right now).

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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 06, 2004 2:06 am
Hafnium-178 isomer reaction would be a breakthrough of massive proportions. It could completely revolutionize many things in aviation, space travel and other things. I hope irrational fears wouldn├Ąt put an end to it.


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