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Gas...jets...no More  
User currently offlineDeltaASA16 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (13 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1949 times:

What is going to happen when the oil prices get so high an Airlines...heck airplanes can't function efficiently due to the increase in prices.

I mean, eventually, oil will eventually become so scarce that airplane manufactures will have to switch to a new source of energy. Its the sad truth, but jet engine days are limited  Sad

Whats the deal, whats gonna happen?


8 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineTom in NO From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 7194 posts, RR: 31
Reply 1, posted (13 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1921 times:

There ain't a whole lot else out there other than Jet-A, and the low-lead piston-engine fuels.

Now, if we want to develop motor vehicle fuel types for aviation uses, our eventual options expand somewhat. Those developmental options would include propane, Liquified Natural Gas, Compressed Natural Gas, methanol, ethanol. Of course, these are still in the implementation stages with many US automakers, and the US EPA is requiring certain types of alternative fuel vehicles to be incorporated these into federal, state, and utility fleets, and soon into municipal and private (this includes the airlines) fleets. In my current position, I'm the Fleet Manager currently at MSY, so this stuff is up my alley.

The main problem would be developing engines that could utilize these types of fuel. I tell you this, the environmentalists would love it.

Tom in NO (at MSY)

"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
User currently offlineBA From United States of America, joined May 2000, 11198 posts, RR: 57
Reply 2, posted (13 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1921 times:

It's false to say that jet engines will become obsolete when oil runs out.

There have been fossil fuels developed from vegetable waste that can be burned in an internal combustion engines (engines in cars) that would use gasoline.

There are also ways to develop other fuels that could be used by jet engines. Jet engines may require some minor modifications, but the general concept will still be the same. It will still be a jet engine.

Jet engines of course will not be used forever. Eventually, a new power source for aircraft will be developped.

Let's not forget, the first powered aircraft were not powered by jet engines, they were powered by piston engines which use an entirely different fuel from jet engines.


"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
User currently offlineBA From United States of America, joined May 2000, 11198 posts, RR: 57
Reply 3, posted (13 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1902 times:

Tom in NO brings up another great point.

Natural Gas (either compressed or liquified) could be used some how.

Many newer vehicles, particularly public transit buses are powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).

Internal combustion engines have become quite versatile and like I mentioned earlier, they have developed fuels from vegetable waste that could be burned by internal combustion engines.

At a few gas stations around the country, you can buy a fuel made of corn that can be used in diesel engines. When that fuel is burned and comes out the exhaust, it smells like french fries.  Smile

Anyways, that's besides the point.

While it's true that internal combustion engines and gas turbines (jet engines) are completely different. They do share some similar concepts.

The most obvious one is both involve the combustion (burning) of fuel.

If alternative fuels have been developed for internal combustion engines. Alternative fuels can be developped for jet engines eventually.

Perhaps the biggest problem however is cost and fuel economy.

Natural Gas for example is expensive, and the engines themselves are expensive and are expensive to maintain. Also, since Natural Gas is a very light gas, it's burned very quickly, a lot quicker than petroluem.

So the result will be decreased range versus a petrol powered vehicle.

As with all new technologies, there are hurdles. But they'll eventually be worked out.


"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
User currently offlineLapa_saab340 From France, joined Aug 2001, 409 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (13 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 1746 times:

Jet engines can be made to run on a variety of fuels. Many power companies used 'combined cycle' gas turbines. Basically a jet engine burning natural gas and driving a generator. The only difference is in the design of the combustors, which are much larger as they are not restricted in size as in a jet engines for aircraft use. In the combined cycle, the waste heat from the jet is used to boil water and drive a steam turbine, also connected to a generator.

Power plants also have 'peaking units', which are unmodified jet engines burning natural gas and driving generators. They are only started during peaks in the demand, like during hot summer days.

The problem of using alternate fuels is one of storage. If you've ever seen CNG-powered cars, the fuel tank takes up most of your trunk space!

User currently offlineAloges From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 9419 posts, RR: 39
Reply 5, posted (13 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 1725 times:

The Soviets have experimented with hydrogen fueled engines... Look at this!
I've also seen a page by EADS about a hydrogen powered aircraft, alas, I can't find it anymore. It looked a bit like a smaller, twin-engined version of the A380, probably based on an A300 fuselage. No Beluga, though, there was no "bubble".

Walk together, talk together all ye peoples of the earth. Then, and only then, shall ye have peace.
User currently offlineHmmmm... From Canada, joined May 1999, 2114 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (13 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 1685 times:

As much as I would like to hope that we will soon run out of oil, to save the planet, my fear is that oil will continue to flow for a long time coming. The middle east still has about 40 years worth to pump. And there are oil deposits in several ocean locations, and in the tar sands of Canada, that could be extracted to power the world for another 40 years should significantly higher oil prices make that both necessary and economically attractive. As long as fossil fuels, especially oil, are cheaper to extract than these future fuels will be to create, those future fuels will not be developed.

An optimist robs himself of the joy of being pleasantly surprised
User currently offlineMarc Kobaissi From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 119 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (13 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 1654 times:

Turboprop and ducted fan technology is the answer.


- Marc K.

User currently offlineBR715-A1-30 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (13 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 1591 times:

The GE-36 proved to be a nuisance in its time period, but I'm willing to bet that in this day and age, it would be welcome with today's airlines.

They could provide the new 7E7 with Un-Ducted Fan technology.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © David Unsworth
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © AirNikon

This is a conventional Engine set-up.
This is an engine with UDF technology.

GE-36 UDF Engine

Of course, there is always the worry of a propeller falling off, and causing an imbalance causing the plane to crash, but that's another story, and another worry.

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