Researchers in the Middle East are developing a technology they say will convert saltwater-tolerant crops into jet fuel, creating a biofuel that doesn’t consume huge amounts of fresh water or take land away from food crops.
The Masdar Institute in the United Arab Emirates is creating a demonstration farm that will use a system called integrated seawater agriculture, in which seawater would be transported via canal to a desert-based farm that combines fish and shrimp farming with cultivation of mangrove trees and salicornia, whose seeds can be converted into fuel.
A Qatar Airways flight from London to Qatar has become the first passenger plane to be powered by cleaner-burning natural gas that was converted to kerosene.
“Today’s flight opens the door to an alternative to oil-based aviation fuel,” said Malcom Brinded, international executive director of Royal Dutch Shell, which is partnering with Qatar Petroleum to produce so-called gas-to-liquid (GTL) kerosene from Qatar’s abundant natural gas reserves. (more…)
Does that headline grab you? If not, these numbers should:
If that has not grabbed your attention yet, consider that in January of this year, Continental Airlines completed a test flight using a biofuel mixture, which included fuel derived from algae. The test flight yielded a 1.1 percent increase in fuel efficiency compared to a jet engine using traditional jet fuel.
That isn’t exactly a great leap forward, but achieving incremental increases in fuel efficiency coupled with the latest engine technology, as well as use of new materials in aircraft production, such as the Boeing 787, could signal a dynamic shift for the airline industry. (more…)