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Can Biofuels Solve the Problem of Price/Supply of Fuel

 
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Location: Smyrna, TN, USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:03 pm    Post subject: Can Biofuels Solve the Problem of Price/Supply of Fuel Reply with quote

Can Biofuels Solve the Problem of Price / Supply of Fuel for the Aviation Industry

There is recent news about the development of algae-based biofuel to be refined into jet fuel being promoted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an office of the US Department of Defense. In addition to DARPA’s funding, Exxon is also investing heavily in the research and development of this alternative to fossil-based fuel.

This holds promise for all aviation industries to provide a stable and environmentally friendly fuel source for jet aircraft.

Quoting from a post in the UK Guardian ([url]guardian.co.uk[/url], Saturday 13 February 2010):

Unlike corn-based ethanol, algal farms do not threaten food supplies. Some strains are being grown on household waste and in brackish water. Algae draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere when growing; when the derived fuel is burned, the same CO2 is released, making the fuel theoretically zero-carbon, although processing and transporting the fuel requires some energy.

The industry received a further boost earlier this month, when the Environmental Protection Agency declared that algae-based diesel reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% compared with conventional diesel. The Obama administration had earlier awarded $80m in research grants to a new generation of algae and biomass fuels.

For Darpa, the support for algae is part of a broader mission for the US military to obtain half of its fuel from renewable energy sources by 2016. That time line meant that the Pentagon needed to develop technologies to make its hardware “fuel agnostic”, capable that is of running on any energy source including methane and propane.

Unlike corn-based ethanol, algal farms do not threaten food supplies. Some strains are being grown on household waste and in brackish water. Algae draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere when growing; when the derived fuel is burned, the same CO2 is released, making the fuel theoretically zero-carbon, although processing and transporting the fuel requires some energy.


The military anticipates testing of the fuel to begin next year with full scale production in 2013.

Commercial Aviation has been plagued with unstable pricing of both Jet Fuel and Aviation gasoline. The extreme price swings have wrought havoc on the profits of the airlines and air charter providers around the world.

DARPA is projecting that this fuel can be produced initially for around $3.00 per gallon which is not too far off the prices we are currently paying. Initially the fuel will be supplied to the military but if proven commercially viable, why can’t the rest of aviation benefit as well?

This makes sense for the United States to produce and develop fuel supplies domestically, keeping the money and jobs at home.

Whether you are in the global-warming environmentalist camp or not, you have to agree that it would be great to have a fuel supply that is not based on buying fuel from countries that are not so friendly to the U.S. Let Hugo Chavez and the terrorist supporting states in the Middle East sell their oil to someone else.

This article and others can be read at www.planeconversations.com
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