Scientists in China have developed a process for converting plant waste from agriculture and timber harvesting into high-density aviation fuel. Their research, published March 21 in the journal Joule, may help reduce CO2 emissions from airplanes and rockets.
Cellulose, the main component in the biofuel, is a cheap, renewable, and highly abundant polymer that forms the cell walls of plants. While chain alkanes (such as branched octane, dodecane, and hexadecane) have previously been derived from cellulose for use in jet fuel, the researchers believe this is the first study to produce more complex polycycloalkane compounds that can be used as high-density aviation fuel.
Ning Li, a research scientist at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics and an author of the study, believes this new biofuel could be instrumental in helping aviation “go green.”
“Our biofuel is important for mitigating CO2 emissions because it is derived from biomass and it has higher density (or volumetric heat values) compared with conventional aviation fuels,” says Li. “As we know, the utilization of high-density aviation fuel can significantly increase the range and payload of aircraft without changing the volume of oil in the tank.”
To produce this biofuel, Li and his team found that cellulose can be selectively converted to 2,5-hexanedione using the chemical reaction hydrogenolysis. They then developed a method of separating the compound 2,5-hexanedione by converting the 5-methylfurfural in hydrogenolysis product to 2,5-hexanedione, while keeping 2,5-hexanedione in the product unchanged. This resulted in a 71% isolated carbon yield–a 5% increase from the product yield in their initial work. Finally, they reacted hydrogen with the 2,5-hexanedione from wheatgrass cellulose to obtain the final product: a mixture of C12 and C18 polycycloalkanes with a low freezing point and a density about 10% higher than that of conventional jet fuels. Much of the biofuel’s magic lies in this high density–it can be used as either a wholesale replacement fuel or as an additive to improve the efficiency of other jet fuels.
“The aircraft using this fuel can fly farther and carry more than those using conventional jet fuel, which can decrease the flight number and decrease the CO2 emissions during the taking off (or launching) and landing,” says Li.
Although the researchers produced the biofuel at a laboratory scale in this study, Li and his team believe the process’ cheap, abundant cellulose feedstock, fewer production steps, and lower energy cost and consumption mean it will soon be ready for commercial use. They also predict it will yield higher profits than conventional aviation fuel production because it requires lower costs to produce a higher-density fuel. The biggest issue holding the process back is its use of dichloromethane to break down cellulose into 2,5-hexanedione; the compound is traditionally used as a solvent in paint removers and is considered an environmental and health hazard.
“In the future, we will go on to explore the environmentally friendly and renewable organic solvent that can replace the dichloromethane used in the hydrogenolysis of cellulose to 2,5-hexanedione,” says Li. “At the same time, we will study the application of 2,5-hexanedione in the synthesis of other fuels and value-added chemicals.”
The Latest on: Aviation biofuel
via Google News
The Latest on: Aviation biofuel
- Jacqueline Drumhelleron October 7, 2020 at 3:42 pm
As the head of sustainability at Alaska Airlines, Jacqueline created and spearheaded the airline’s formal sustainability strategy and program. Under Jackie’s leadership, Alaska earned the reputation ...
- Heathrow CEO: Aviation should have priority access to sustainable biofuelson October 2, 2020 at 6:14 am
Aviation sector will not be able to reach net zero if worldwide capacity of sustainable fuels is split between different transport sectors, John Holland Kaye warned at BusinessGreen’s Net Zero Festiva ...
- Expanding Adoption of Aviation Biofuel to Reduce Carbon Emissions is Likely to Foster the Market Growthon September 30, 2020 at 6:57 am
Research Nester published a report titled "Aviation Biofuel Market: Global Demand Analysis & Opportunity Outlook ...
- Diesel, batteries and biofuels: Setting our ferries on course for a green futureon September 29, 2020 at 9:15 am
At the moment, all public ferries operating here run on fossil fuels. Smaller boats use diesel that’s akin to what’s sold at petrol stations. But large vessels, including the Cook Strait ferries, burn ...
- Aviation and Marine Biofuel Market Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Supply and Manufacturers Analysis Research Report 2030 | Impact of COVID-19 Pandemicon September 29, 2020 at 12:49 am
Collectively, more than 70% of the energy demand was driven by China, United States and India in 2018. CRIFAX added a ...
- Shell inks deal with Neste to boost aviation biofuels supplyon September 28, 2020 at 1:37 am
The arrangement follows a similar supply agreement for renewable jet biodiesel between Neste and rival oil giant BP last month.
- Etihad Airways continuing to promote sustainability, protect environmenton September 27, 2020 at 5:00 pm
In line with the carbon reduction plan in the international aviation sector, Etihad Airways has been a key supporter of the use of alternative fuels, which can be produced for commercial use both ...
- VistaJet offers customers chance to buy biofuel for flightson September 25, 2020 at 6:57 am
Charter operator launches scheme to promote the wider use of sustainable aviation fuel throughout the world, by tapping the conscience of its clients ...
- VistaJet Announces Market-Leading Sustainable Biofuel Partnership with SkyNRGon September 24, 2020 at 2:58 pm
VistaJet announced the progress it has made on its Sustainability in Aviation pledge, launched in January, to rapidly and meaningfully reduce its carbon footprint, and to explore all routes to higher ...
- VistaJet Announces New Market-Leading Sustainable Biofuel Partnershipon September 24, 2020 at 12:47 pm
VistaJet, the first and only global business aviation company, announces the progress it has made on its Sustainability in Aviation pledge, launched in January 2020, to rapidly and meaningfully reduce ...
via Bing News