none
none

RESEARCHERS DISCOVER HOW TO MAKE JET DIESEL FROM SUGARCANE

25-06-2015
by 
in 

With eight million people flying across the globe each day – and rising – the environmental cost of air travel is substantial.
In 2012, it was estimated that 2 percent of all carbon emissions were due to aeroplane operations, and that figure is expected to increase in the near future.
So it’s no surprise that scientists across the world are working on alternative fuels to make air travel a greener form of transport.
A team of researchers from the University of California, Berkeley in the US has come across a novel alternative fuel: sugarcane biomass and waste.
The academics say that producing jet diesel from this natural source would substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions. What's more, because the sugarcane can be grown on marginal, low-yield land, it wouldn't have to replace existing food crops.
"We've identified a new route of chemistry with its source from sugars in sugarcane plus some of the so-called waste material called bagasse," co-author Alexis Bell told Mark Kinver from the BBC.
"We show in this paper how we can put these components together to make jet diesel and lubricants," he said.
The process works by using a hot water treatment to remove sugar from the sugarcane, before renewable catalysts (tiny amounts of magnesium oxide and niobium pentoxide) are used to transform the waste into fuel.
Up to this point scientists have struggled to find a viable biofuel to meet the demands of today's high-powered aircraft - there are strict regulations in place in terms of weight, density, lubricity and performance in low temperatures that airlines insist on to keep efficiency at the required levels.
But Bell says his new sugarcane fuel meets all of the necessary criteria.
The first commercial flight partly powered by biofuel was in February 2008, but interest in greener fuel has waned over concerns that the production of the necessary crops would increase strain on worldwide food production. The sugarcane fuel developed by Bell and his colleagues avoids that problem.
"If, for example, we were to use sugar beet instead of sugarcane then there would be a potential conflict over fuel versus food," he says. "By using sugarcane, particularly in Brazil, on land that is not used for agriculture, we escape that conundrum."
Bell added that any clearing of ground for sugarcane production would have to be environmentally sound to make the potential benefits worthwhile.
The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has been sponsored by BP and the scientists are now seeking a patent for the innovations they've made.
The process may well be used to create lubricants first of all, before becoming part of cleaner jet fuel mixtures.

Source: Science Alert
 

Related news & editorials

  1. 15.02.2018
    15.02.2018
    by      In
    Australia's deserts will soon hold hundreds of radio dishes, forming part of a global radio telescope designed to listen for signals from the start of the universe: The Square Kilometre Array (SKA). 
    When completed, the ambitious project will be the world's single largest piece of astronomical... Read More
  2. Newcastle solar farm
    15.02.2018
    15.02.2018
    by      In
    Newcastle City Council has signed a contract for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a 5MW solar photovoltaic project as part of its plan to cut its emissions by 30% by 2020.
    The contract has been awarded to a joint venture between Carnegie Clean Energy subsidiary Energy Made... Read More
  3. 15.02.2018
    15.02.2018
    by      In
    Tomcar Australia, subject of a round of 2017 articles that labeled it as "Australia's last automotive manufacturer", has gone into voluntary administration. 
    Citing hostile investors and increasing costs of business, admistrators confirmed the turnover for Tomcar in the 2016-17 financial year was $... Read More
  4. 15.02.2018
    15.02.2018
    by      In
    An innovation hub to help Australian companies make the shift from traditional manufacturing to more advanced, value-added products has opened in Adelaide.
    The concept was first floated in 2016, and since then development has been ongoing, transforming a former car manufacturing plant into a hub... Read More