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Fuel

— Aircraft

NASA selects “green” propellant technology demonstration mission

After putting out a call for technology demonstration proposals for non-toxic “green” propellant alternatives to highly-toxic hydrazine earlier this year, NASA has selected a mission proposed by a team led by Boulder, Colorado-based Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation. The mission, which is intended to bridge the gap between technology development and use of green propellant, is expected to be developed and flown in around three years, with NASA providing US$45 million and additional funds provided by the mission co-investigators. Read More

Jet-fuel powered Cessna flies cheaper and greener

The Cessna Aircraft Company is looking to make small planes a little cheaper to fuel and greener to fly with its new Cessna Turbo 182 NXT. Unveiled on Monday, July 23, at the 2012 Airventure airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the aircraft is a single-engine prop plane that is the first to burn Jet A aviation fuel. This change makes the plane cheaper to fuel, get better mileage and performance, as well as operate more environmentally friendly. Read More

XCOR tests rocket parts in a motorcycle

It costs a lot of money to assess rocket engine parts using professional-grade testing equipment ... and, like most of us, aerospace company XCOR doesn’t have money to burn. So, when it came time to test the bearing components of their new rocket propellant piston pump, the XCOR engineers got creative – they put them in the engine of a motorcycle, and sent it on a road trip. Read More
— Environment

Researchers generate liquid fuel using electricity

While electric vehicles have come a long way in the past decade, they still have many disadvantages when compared to internal combustion engine-driven vehicles. The lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles have a much lower energy storage density when compared to liquid fuel, they take longer to “refuel,” and they lack the supporting infrastructure that has built up around conventional vehicles over the past century. Now researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a process that could allow liquid fuel to be produced using solar generated electricity. Read More
— Aircraft

NASA launches search for greener propellant

NASA has put out the call for greener propellant fuel for use on the spacecraft of the future. Though it does not appear that NASA has stipulated that alternative propellants must match the performance of current mainstay hydrazine, it's clear that only high-performance substances need apply. Environmental credentials are where the new fuel must demonstrate an edge over hydrazine, which is a corrosive, toxic pollutant. As well as the environmental benefits, use of greener propellants should prove more economical, reducing the need for involved safety procedures that can lengthen launch times. Read More
— Environment

Virgin claims its new jet fuel will have half the carbon footprint of others

Three years ago, Virgin Atlantic Airways grabbed some headlines when it experimentally ran one of its 747s on a mixture of standard jet fuel and biofuel. While some called it a publicity stunt, it was the first time that a commercial airliner had flown using biofuel – albeit only in part of one of its four fuel tanks. Today, however, the airline announced that it’s developing an aviation fuel that will have half the carbon footprint of conventional fuel. The carbon savings won’t result from how cleanly the fuel burns, but from how it’s obtained. Read More
— Environment

Plastic2Oil process turns plastic waste into fuel

While a lot of people may be doing their part for the environment by sending their discarded plastic items off for recycling, the fact is that much of the plastic currently in use is non-recyclable. In a not particularly eco-friendly process, some of this plastic is burned to generate electricity, while much of it simply ends up in landfills. Canadian company JBI, however, has developed a process that uses those plastics as a feedstock, and turns them into fuel. Read More
— Environment

Microwaves utilized to convert used motor oil into fuel

It has been estimated that over 8 billion US gallons (30.3 billion liters) of used motor oil are produced every year by the world’s cars and trucks. While some of that is re-refined into new oil or burned in furnaces for heat, neither of those processes are entirely environmentally-innocuous. In other cases, it is simply discarded. Today, however, researchers from the University of Cambridge announced the development of a process that uses microwaves to convert waste oil into vehicle fuel. Read More
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