2175301 wrote:Unless there is a truly major change in technology... hydrocarbon based fuels (in the kerosene area) will continue to fuel the aviation world. If necessary, hydrogen will be converted into hydrocarbon form to do this.
The key reason is energy density in a usable form. A ton of hydrocarbon packs a huge amount of energy in a form that is easily used. Batteries will never come close to the energy density (perhaps 1/10th at its best). Hydrogen itself requires heavy pressure vessels to carry any mass amount of it which rule that out for aviation.
While it is possible to look at the energy density charts of various fuels and see other possibilities in the required energy density range; they all tend to be rather difficult or dangerous to handle in comparison to hydrocarbon or are toxic chemicals with many of those with highly toxic combustion byproducts.
I find it amazing that people who talk about theoretical fusion reactors tend to forget about the needed radiation shielding/ Yes - fusion reactors produce radiation, although not as much as the common fission reactors. Also, that you would need some kind of cycle to move the heat from the reactor core to the "turbine" process air-stream; or to convert the heat into electricity - which adds space and weight.
Hydrocarbons have multiple major advantages for aerospace.
Have a great day,
666wizard wrote:My question is… how long is this consumption of Jet-A sustainable? I see the hundreds of widebodies crossing the Atlantic back and forth to Europe every night (for example), and I wonder, how can the Earth keep supporting this? What is the very very long term plan for aviation, regarding fuel, with hundreds of airliners burning up to 150 tonnes of fuel each trip? There has been so much debate around the specific eco issues (such as the third runway at Heathrow); are we perhaps missing the bigger picture? I’m aware that oil gets used everyday in cars and power stations, but aviation is unique that it needs a high power / weight ratio fuel to provide the thrust needed for efficient flight.
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