777fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2402 posts, RR: 3 Reply 8, posted (5 years 3 months 11 hours ago) and read 8899 times:
Do we know exactly what kind of "bio fuel" this thing was powered on? What modifications did the a/c need to make it airworthy and what powerplant(s) are on VX's 744s?
Great development but if this is powered by grain-based bio fuels and this proves to be the "next big thing", it's only going to create a crunch on worldwide grain stores and prices. Still, great news and a step forward by (who else) Sir Branson.
Cool, thanks for the link. The Chicago Tribune's article didn't have as many details. Don't know why they won't identify the source of the fuel although I assume it's because they don't want to tip their hand.
That said, I'm not sure this will be the "golden egg" that everyone is searching for. If the goal is to cut down CO2 emissions, I'm confident it'll be a success since petroleum based fuels emit massive amounts of CO2. If the goal is reduce dependence upon crude oil, I'm not sure this is the right way to go. Case in point, the high demand for ethanol-based fuels here in the US has driven up demand for grains and in turn, increased the price of food staples.
No doubt, this is a step in the right direction, but I'd like to see an aircraft powered by "recycled" fuel:
Strudders From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2004, 109 posts, RR: 0 Reply 11, posted (5 years 3 months 10 hours ago) and read 8730 times:
Mmmmmm it would seem we can provide food for fuel but on for the starving.....
Second point is this stuff freezes apparently at relatively low temperatures and the technology is still 10 years off from success. (sourse BBC)
I am sorry if I sound cynical, however I dont buy the use of Bio fuel as sustainable alternative, given the destruction of virgin forests it is causing around the world. (hundreds of links for those of you that want them) In the end we will loose much more than we gain.
Considering the amount of CO2 produced by aviation I would suggest leave it alone until better engine technology is around to utilise fossil fuel more efficiently and work on sorting out the real problems in the world the Car, the Ship and coal fired power station.
Itsonlyme From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 149 posts, RR: 0 Reply 12, posted (5 years 3 months 10 hours ago) and read 8653 times:
In response to a couple of the comments above. The fuel was some sort of mixture between coconut and babassu nuts, which do not interfere with food supply, although babassu plant is native to the amazon, both products are used in comsetics and stuff. Branson himself also said that this particular fuel is not th elong term answer - he believes that answer is something derived from algae, which i guess can be grown anywhere. He also said strongly the fuel obviously must not require significant modifications require a decades long wait for new aircraft, and that it must be sustainable and not affect the food supply.
Strudders From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2004, 109 posts, RR: 0 Reply 13, posted (5 years 3 months 9 hours ago) and read 8539 times:
Quoting Itsonlyme (Reply 12): fuel was some sort of mixture between coconut and babassu nuts, which do not interfere with food supply
Whilst I dont disagree with what you say simple local economics drive this debate. A farmer given the choice of growing food verses Palm or Babassu nuts will grow the latter. Borneo is being stripped clean for the development of Palm Nuts for this very reason. Cash crops these are!
Introducing another competitor (Bio Fuel production) into an already very competitive market such as oil rich nuts and Grin will cause the price of the crop to rise and thus push farmers to turn more of their land over to these types of crop. And who would blame them. (Afghanistan poppy Fields are a very good example)
To keep on track of the thread, I think Virgin and SRB have the right ideal and applaud them for it but they are backing the wrong horse.
Lumberton From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 4708 posts, RR: 21 Reply 17, posted (5 years 3 months 8 hours ago) and read 8283 times:
Quoting Itsonlyme (Reply 12): In response to a couple of the comments above. The fuel was some sort of mixture between coconut and babassu nuts, which do not interfere with food supply, although babassu plant is native to the amazon, both products are used in comsetics and stuff.
If there are any more Diego Garcia "alumni" lurking, they can back me up that the island is inundated with coconut palms! Could this present an opportunity for the original inhabitants to return?
I'm keenly interested in alternative fuels and would like to know how much energy is required to produce a liter of biofuel and what the energy output is, relative to Jet A.
Perhaps if Baroque could take time out from his "Raptors for Down Under" campaigin, he'll weigh in?
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
Baroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 60 Reply 18, posted (5 years 3 months 7 hours ago) and read 8172 times:
Quoting Lumberton (Reply 17): Perhaps if Baroque could take time out from his "Raptors for Down Under" campaign, he'll weigh in?
Well the best I can do is to find a Syd Morning Herald article from last year that makes me a bit uneasy about real energy costs of the system without having any really good data as to what they are.
"Now a planned $30 million biodiesel plant in Port Botany is under attack by the Greens because it will use palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia. Its future is up in the air as the developer, Natural Fuels Australia, decides whether it should go ahead. The chairman of the company, Barry Murphy, said yesterday that the Federal Government clean fuels grant did not in reality encourage the use of pure biodiesel from crops and therefore "makes the economics difficult". He also acknowledged the price of feedstock and the global issues around climate change and deforestation made the decision a tough one."
You can see the controversy.
From the other side of the palm oil schemes, the plantations in Kalimantan are pretty amazing. I gather the production is formidable but it is pretty difficult to work out either of the two basic important parameters:
1. the real cost of production; and
2. the extent to which the whole process is subsidized by removal of rainforest timber.
Then after you find out what they are, you would need to find the energy input.
I should look out some photographs to show what happens to the forest cover and the peat soils in valleys such as that of the Barito River - these are some of the peat soils that are prone to catch fire during clearance for planting the palm trees.
You have to think of it in terms of an integrated forestry (in part illegal of course) and palm oil operation.
The amount of energy that goes into the plantation may be relatively low - but I cannot find any stats. However, the original forest soils are very poor and they become impoverished by the clearance.
You get a good feel for this from the gardens of transmigrants - they usually look impoverished and barren due to the transmigrants being unable to afford fertilisers.
Use of all the biomass from harvesting would make the system closer to sustainable, but using the biomass from dispersed sources present major problems.
The other thing to calculate is how much you could produce if you converted all the tropical forest areas to palm oil, after that you will have to worry about how to feed those who live in those areas. A decline in flow oil production will lead to endless problems of so many varieties.
Back to trying to find flow oil and wait for the Raptors to fly in. Should not be long now - for both!
Lumberton From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 4708 posts, RR: 21 Reply 20, posted (5 years 3 months 7 hours ago) and read 8131 times:
Quoting Baroque (Reply 18): The other thing to calculate is how much you could produce if you converted all the tropical forest areas to palm oil, after that you will have to worry about how to feed those who live in those areas. A decline in flow oil production will lead to endless problems of so many varieties.
Which is why I find the prospect of using coconuts so alluring, There are many islands in the Indian Ocean that are perfect for coconut plantations. There's the aforementioned Chagos Archepeligo and your own Cocos Island for a start. And, it would be a solution for the displaced Chagosians. Win-win.
But there are transport costs to take into account as well, unless the processing was done on-site. But it is cause for hope that folks are looking at things like coconuts and switch grass (yes, those enzymes....)!
Who knows? Perhaps we can get the Raptors running on the stuff?
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
Steeler83 From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 8811 posts, RR: 19 Reply 21, posted (5 years 3 months 7 hours ago) and read 8113 times:
I love the comments that biofuels will not reduce carbon emissions. I understand the energy going into creating these fuels, but what about the energy used to extract oil, and then to refine crude oil into more of a useable type (i.e. gasoline, kerosene, etc), and of course, what happens when we burn that oil?
Even with all that energy going into biofuel, I still think it's less than what goes into making, and then burning gasoline and jet fuels. Sometimes, these environmentalists don't make any sense. I like the environment as much as the next person, and I am all for sustainability, but I think this could be the start of something that could work out in the future -- this and the hydrogen cell...
Do not bring stranger girt into your room. The stranger girt is dangerous, it will hurt your life.
Strudders From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2004, 109 posts, RR: 0 Reply 22, posted (5 years 3 months 7 hours ago) and read 8075 times:
Quoting Lumberton (Reply 20): Which is why I find the prospect of using coconuts so alluring, There are many islands in the Indian Ocean that are perfect for coconut plantations
The problem is Lumberton, Coconuts are not what is being grown fro Bio Fuel due to the relative poor yields provided by the Coconut.
Palm oil on the other hand has a high yield and is easy to manage. That is unfortunately what is being grown.
In order to do so this countries are resorting to whole sale deforestation, legal as well as illegal to achieve this.
Coconut oil as fuel is a good diesel alternative as long as it does not fall below 25C.
I think that the use of coconuts and other sustainable alternatives to local populations are the way forward, however large scale production of nut based fuels are only going to cause more issues than they solve.