back to article US air force, Boeing press on with alternative jet fuel tests

Boeing, manufacturer of much of the world airliner fleet, is to test the feasibility of using biofuels derived from non-standard feedstocks in its aircraft. Meanwhile, the US air force effort to develop domestically-supplied fuels continues. Flight International reports that Boeing's environmental strategy chief, Bill Glover, …


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  1. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Go, US air force, Boldly Go.....

    And if plants redress the CO2/O2 imbalance cause by mindless and unnecessary deforestion/defoliation ...the Carbon Footprint thing ...... then who would fault the Ideas for Change.

  2. Andy

    It's the future...

    "he likened the coming shift to the distribution of computing power outward from mainframes into PCs"

    Hoorah! Tanks of algae in every home!

    There's probably a joke in there about 'the tank has detected an illegal operation in algae.dll' but I can't be bothered to get my coat...

  3. Sweep


    A fairly impartial article by Lewis, involving both the military and climate change!

    Merry Christmas Lewis!

  4. Anonymous Coward


    Apropos of nothing in particular, we all produce lots of sewage, what about some sort of bacterial produced frankenfuel? put the stuff to some use, just think, politics could be a boon to the world economy

  5. laird cummings

    @AC; sewage

    What a sh1tty idea! I could crap myself a few kilowatts after a holiday meal!

    Wait! Toss me coat out after me, willya?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Farm Lobby

    It's not just the farm lobby, it's the Iowa Caucus for the Presidential election that drives ethanol. On January 3rd, Iowa voters will become the first people in the US to vote for who they want as presidential candidates. If a candidate doesn't stand up in Iowa's cornfields and take the pledge to ethanol they will sink without trace. A candidate does badly in Iowa and that gets mentioned all the way to New Hampshire and beyond, hindering their chances of getting the final nomination.

    There's an episode of 'The West Wing' about just this pork-barrelling.

  7. E

    Poetic Justice

    So much of the stuff on supermarket shelve is now made out of processed petroleum, it seems only fair to run machinery on food.

  8. Jay Hawk

    Why biofuels?

    Biofuels schmiofuels! What those boys need is something like those di-lithium crystals. Quick Dubya, drop some funds on DARPA/NASA to scour the galaxy for crystals so we won't have to play nice with no one. Heeyuck!

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Noone really wants Ethanol

    It's only about 75% as efficient as petrol/gasoline per gallon, yet in the USA, the price is similar.

    The product is not economically efficient as massive subsidies are required to even product it at the price point we have today.

    Thirdly, because of the demand on corn, the price of the raw foodstuff has pushed up the price even more.

    Fourthly, the US government through prohibitive import tariffs effectively blocks foreign imports of ethanol from countries that can manufacture this more efficiently from products with a higher sugar content. Think you can get around it by importing sugar and doing the refining on shore? Think again - more prohibitive tariffs.

    Finally, the whitewash energy bill pushed through by Junior this week to raise CAFE standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 is a complete and utter joke.

    Haing lived in America for 15 years, I'm convinced that Americans really do not wish to use less fuel, or become any less dependent on foreign fuel sources.

  10. Thomas Martin

    It will serve them right

    It will serve them right to choke on their oil. Every time the wind blows the price of oil goes up. Let 'em swim in it for a while.

  11. Brett Brennan

    Let's look at the refineries for a moment...

    Having a family of petroleum engineers has allowed me to tour various refinery facilities around the US, and it provides an interesting perspective on how something like a high-volume algae farm COULD practically feed a refinery.

    Most refinery complexes are relatively small - a surprise to anyone not familiar with the industry. Typically there will be a couple of refining facilities in a geographical location that take pipeline crude and create fuel, synthetic feedstocks, chemicals, etc.

    A sufficiently large algae pond could provide feedstock for a small-medium refining complex, and do so in enough volume to support a regional fuel/chemical infrastructure. If tailored algae or bacteria are used to produce the raw material for the refinery (yes, it will be a decade off in the future at least) small-medium scale producers could proliferate in short order.

    Focus the production of the "designer refiners" on specific products (e.g.: jet fuel) and it's only a matter of getting the economics right before they could displace the "conventional" petroleum fed facilities for this role.

    This does NOT mean the end to petroleum based refining. Rather "conventional" refineries would quickly change their production to focus on more profitable outputs - like the chemical and plastics feedstocks - boosting their income as well as improving the environment.

    Again, this will be determined by economics, not Green wishes or political mandates.

    I think my Dad, a former petroleum geophysicist, put it succinctly back in 1969 when the oil depletion allowance was about to be retired:

    "There's plenty of dollar a gallon gas sitting out there in the ground..." (Gas was US$0.30/gal when he said this...)

  12. Marty

    I dont think the guys with thick mustaches will be happy...

    when we all stop buying fuel from the arabs, they are gonna get pissed. And i would also imagine the 'friendly' relationship between the Saudis and the west would become a little colder if they dont have to rely on us buying the fuel to make them rich... or should i say richer.....

  13. Anonymous John


    "Speaking to Flight, he likened the coming shift to the distribution of computing power outward from mainframes into PCs."

    So we'll all be flying our own small planes across the Atlantic?

  14. Kanhef

    Ecologically useful

    Let's harvest the algae blooms caused by fertilizer runoff in the Gulf of Mexico, which will get rid of the perennial dead zone there. Kill a couple of birds with one stone. Might need to 'seed' it with the right species, but that shouldn't be too hard.

  15. Alan Donaly

    mechanical whales

    harvesting algae seems familiar somehow.

  16. Ishkandar

    @Anonymous John

    Yes but you'll have to stoke up aplenty on baked beans just before take-off....

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