USADreamliner
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Boeing,GE And VS Testing Biofuel Next Year?(articl

Fri Aug 31, 2007 1:23 pm

I was reading an article on The Seattle Times, about Boeing working on biofuels, testing soybeans and algae as sources.
The company is planning to fly a 747 across the Atlantic in partnership with GE and Virgin Atlantic some time next year.

The article is very interesting.


"Any change in fuel specifications is a huge issue for the industry," said Paul O'Neill, a London-based airline expert with Deloitte. "If you get adulterated or bad fuel, the aircraft might drop out of the sky.
Boeing estimates that biofuels could reduce flight-related greenhouse-gas emissions by 60 to 80 percent. That figure takes into account not only a lower emissions rate, but also the carbon dioxide absorbed by the vegetable crops used in producing the biofuel."

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...ogy/2003858756_boeingenergy30.html
 
travellin'man
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RE: Boeing,GE And VS Testing Biofuel Next Year?(articl

Fri Aug 31, 2007 3:35 pm

This is a HUGE development, and an exciting one. It takes huge vision to take this problem on, and I hope fruitful research and ideas, and eventually implementations come from this work.
It is not enough to be rude; one must also be incorrect.
 
kaitak744
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RE: Boeing,GE And VS Testing Biofuel Next Year?(ar

Sat Sep 01, 2007 3:15 am

For the transatlantic test flight, are all 4 engines on the 747 going to be Biofuel powered, or just 1?
 
Paddy
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RE: Boeing,GE And VS Testing Biofuel Next Year?(articl

Sat Sep 01, 2007 2:44 pm

I have no idea about the economics and logistics of this. I have heard and read that there is not enough agricultural production capability on the planet to both feed people and produce enough biofuel for even a large minority of the world's automobiles. And according to the article, it would take the amount of acreage in Florida to make even a 15% bio-blend Jet-A (if that's still what you would call it). However, the algae concept is particularly intriguing isnt it?

[Edited 2007-09-01 07:51:30]
 
ikramerica
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RE: Boeing,GE And VS Testing Biofuel Next Year?(articl

Sat Sep 01, 2007 2:58 pm

Quoting Paddy (Reply 3):
I have no idea about the economics and logistics of this. I have heard and read that there is not enough agricultural production capability on the planet to both feed people and produce enough biofuel for even a large minority of the world's automobiles. And according to the article, it would take the amount of acreage in Florida to make even a 15% bio-blend Jet-A (if that's still what you would call it). However, the algae concept is particularly intriguing isnt it?

It's already driving food prices up throughout the world and creating shortages of beef and tequila as feed is diverted and crops are substituted. It's a disaster in the making, and is currently an energy negative proposition. It is also mere speculation that the crops would "use more CO2" because this is in comparison to what... a desert? you can't plant in a desert. You have to plant in a climate that would otherwise have, on the same lands: farming; forests; prairies. Thus you are not creating biomass, thus not creating a carbon sink. You are just diverting what you use the existing biomass for...

I hope for our own sake this fad dies out. It's quite dangerous.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
aveugle
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RE: Boeing,GE And VS Testing Biofuel Next Year?(articl

Sat Sep 01, 2007 3:16 pm

I saw Richard Branson talking about this in an interview tonight on CNN. Interesting stuff.
 
Paddy
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RE: Boeing,GE And VS Testing Biofuel Next Year?(articl

Sat Sep 01, 2007 4:54 pm

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 4):
It's already driving food prices up throughout the world and creating shortages of beef and tequila as feed is diverted and crops are substituted. It's a disaster in the making, and is currently an energy negative proposition. It is also mere speculation that the crops would "use more CO2" because this is in comparison to what... a desert? you can't plant in a desert. You have to plant in a climate that would otherwise have, on the same lands: farming; forests; prairies. Thus you are not creating biomass, thus not creating a carbon sink. You are just diverting what you use the existing biomass for...

I hope for our own sake this fad dies out. It's quite dangerous.

I would tend to agree that, for instance, cane plantations (isnt that what they do in Brazil?) for biofuel is probably not the best use of resources but what if we can sucessfully and space-efficiently produce algae for biofuel? I have selected below an excerpt from an article by University of New Hampshire physicist Michael Briggs http://www.unh.edu/p2/biodiesel/article_alge.html that outlines where the concept stood 3 years ago. I'm not sure if these problems have yet been solved but a quick google search shows that there is a lot of interest on this front. The article adresses some of Ikramerica's concerns and suggests a combination of biodiesel sources. From what is suggested in the article, algae production is quite a bit more efficient than the surface feedstocks currently in use:

NREL's research focused on the development of algae farms in desert regions, using shallow saltwater pools for growing the algae. Using saltwater eliminates the need for desalination, but could lead to problems as far as salt build-up in bonds. Building the ponds in deserts also leads to problems of high evaporation rates. There are solutions to these problems, but for the purpose of this paper, we will focus instead on the potential such ponds can promise, ignoring for the moment the methods of addressing the solvable challenges remaining when the Aquatic Species Program at NREL ended.

NREL's research showed that one quad (7.5 billion gallons) of biodiesel could be produced from 200,000 hectares of desert land (200,000 hectares is equivalent to 780 square miles, roughly 500,000 acres), if the remaining challenges are solved (as they will be, with several research groups and companies working towards it, including ours at UNH). In the previous section, we found that to replace all transportation fuels in the US, we would need 140.8 billion gallons of biodiesel, or roughly 19 quads (one quad is roughly 7.5 billion gallons of biodiesel). To produce that amount would require a land mass of almost 15,000 square miles. To put that in perspective, consider that the Sonora desert in the southwestern US comprises 120,000 square miles. Enough biodiesel to replace all petroleum transportation fuels could be grown in 15,000 square miles, or roughly 12.5 percent of the area of the Sonora desert (note for clarification - I am not advocating putting 15,000 square miles of algae ponds in the Sonora desert. This hypothetical example is used strictly for the purpose of showing the scale of land required). That 15,000 square miles works out to roughly 9.5 million acres - far less than the 450 million acres currently used for crop farming in the US, and the over 500 million acres used as grazing land for farm animals.
 
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scbriml
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RE: Boeing,GE And VS Testing Biofuel Next Year?(articl

Sat Sep 01, 2007 6:18 pm

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 4):
and is currently an energy negative proposition

That's my understanding as well. BioFuel production causes more emissions than the fuel saves!  crazy 

Is it just another energy bandwagon?  scratchchin 
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!
 
travellin'man
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RE: Boeing,GE And VS Testing Biofuel Next Year?(articl

Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:40 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 4):
I hope for our own sake this fad dies out. It's quite dangerous.

Doijng nothing about our current use of fossil fuels is dangerous.

A hundred years ago and change people thought aviation was a dangerous fad, and said that trains were better, safer, more reliable, could haul more cargo, and so on. How many people do you think told the Wright brothers that they were crazy, before and after Kitty Hawk? That no one had ever flown, and therefore, no one ever should? Should they have listened, and given up?

The issue is not put biofuel in the tanks today. It is to study the feasibility of producing fuels and enery sources that are not carbon based that we can use tomorrow sustainably. The case for getting off carbon based fuels is becoming more and more pressing, both in economic and environmental terms, as was discussed in the recent thread about global oil reserves and aviation. It's not going to happen overnight. The early forms of energy and fuel generated may be insufficient, but a lot of research can make it happen. We HAVE to make it happen.

I imagine a world where we find ways to generate energy that are sustainable, non-polluting, do not contribute to global warming, and will one day be more energy concentrated, ie efficient, than fossil fuels. That's not a fad, but a necessity, one we can accomplish with effort, commitment and imagination. But we have to start sometime, somewhere, and if airplane and engine manufacturers want to participate in the R+D, I salute them.
It is not enough to be rude; one must also be incorrect.
 
PlanenutzTB
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RE: Boeing,GE And VS Testing Biofuel Next Year?(articl

Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:02 am

Quoting Aveugle (Reply 5):
I saw Richard Branson talking about this in an interview tonight on CNN. Interesting stuff.

Richard Branson was on CNN Glenn Beck show last night for the full hour. Fascinating interview, Branson is the Howard Hughes of our time. He says that within a year he will fly a plane with bio fuel, one engine of four, no passengers. He also talked about Virgin flying sub-orbital flights from New York to Australia in an hour, sometime in the future. This man is truly a visionary.
I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.
 
mika
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RE: Boeing,GE And VS Testing Biofuel Next Year?(articl

Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:18 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 4):
It's already driving food prices up throughout the world and creating shortages of beef and tequila as feed is diverted and crops are substituted. It's a disaster in the making, and is currently an energy negative proposition. It is also mere speculation that the crops would "use more CO2" because this is in comparison to what... a desert? you can't plant in a desert. You have to plant in a climate that would otherwise have, on the same lands: farming; forests; prairies. Thus you are not creating biomass, thus not creating a carbon sink. You are just diverting what you use the existing biomass for...

I hope for our own sake this fad dies out. It's quite dangerous.

Yeah, and every sceintist that is working on this theory is just plain wrong..

 Yeah sure

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