U.S. Navy Jets to Use BioFuels

An article on Yahoo Green reported that the Navy would begin testing their fighter jets using biofuel. The F/A-18 Super Hornet jets will test a 50/50 blend of a non-food feedstock like jatropha, camelina, and algae that will be mixed with petroleum-based jet fuel. The Navy is calling for 40,000 gallons of the mix called JP-5.

Ground tests will take place at a GE facility first and then test flights will begin next year with a goal of approving a biofuel for use by 2013 not only for the jets but also the Navy’s ships.

The article also reported, “Boeing recently conducted a successful test flight of a 747 using a 50/50 blend of jatropha and jet fuel and saw significant fuel savings and emission reductions.”

Ecogeek.org gave details about that flight:

Air New Zealand recently released the scientific findings from the jatropha-fueled test flight they conducted in late December 2008. The flight resulted in a 60-65 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the jatropha-jet fuel blend compared to traditional jet fuel flights.

The biofuel was responsible for a 1.2 percent savings in fuel over the 12-hour flight, which equaled 1.43 tonnes of fuel. Scientists also estimate that the decrease in fuel consumption saved around 4.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions. The biofuel used was a 50/50 blend of jatropha and Jet A1 fuel.

According to science.org.au: “Jatropha is a group of plants, shrubs and trees that can grow in dry, less productive land. Jatropha curcas seeds contain up to 40 per cent oil which can be used for biofuel. Because Jatropha grows on land of lower productivity, it is sometimes considered to be a biofuel that does not compete with food growing land and resources. However, commercially viable production of Jatropha can still use productive land, water and fertilisers. Jatropha curcas is considered a potential weed in Australia.”

Good, if commercial airliners switch to jatropha and petro biofuel maybe I won’t have to cover my pool and flip my stack chairs upside down. We figured out that all the pitting, and graying that happened to the plastic tables and chairs, and the stain in the bottom of the pool was from jet fuel. It started happening as flight patterns increased over our house. The stain we couldn’t scrub off finally went away when we covered the pool. We looked for the source. It wasn’t until I was floating in the pool looking up at all the criss crossed jet fuel plumes that the light bulb went on. Now I flip all the plastic stuff and it lasts just fine. The bad thing is that we’ve been breathing it.


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