Earlier this month, a team of scientists at the University of North Dakota’s Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) successfully tested a new biofuel based on a mixture of canola and soybean oils, and claim it may be the key to zero emission aviation .
The new super-biofuel, known as Jet Propellant-8 (JP-8) was used to launch a rocket above the Mojave Desert, where it approached the speed of sound and reached an altitude of 20,000 feet – a major leap forward in biofuel-powered flight.
Speaking about the launch Carsten Heide, associate director for the EERC said, “We demonstrated that this fuel is a flying fuel, and is 100% renewable and burns clean. It would open up the possibility to run 100% renewable, clean planes. You can see in the picture how clean it burns.”
The rocket was built by Flometrics, Inc., a product engineering company specializing in fluid dynamics and thermodynamics based in San Diego, California.
The 100% natural fuel exhibits all the characteristics of existing petroleum-based jet fuels, and crucially has the same freezing point – meaning it won’t turn into gel in mid-flight causing airplanes to literally fall out of the sky!
The Dakota project is still in the test phase and there is no news yet about the projected costs of mass production. However, the EERC has plans to build a plant capable of producing up to three million gallons per year.
Image Credit – EERC