HERE WE GO AGAIN!
Just days after writing about Virgin Atlantic’s planned biodiesel-powered commercial jet flight, another name pops up on the ever-reaching radar of biodiesel news.
Douglas Rodante of the American biofuels concept team Green Flight made headlines some months ago by earning the distinction of being the first to fly a jet powered with biodiesel fuel. In October of 2007 Rodante piloted a cold war-era Czech Aero L-29 on biodiesel, a fuel which demonstrates combustion characteristics somewhat similar to that of jet fuel and automotive diesel.
Biodiesel is an alternative form of fuel in the energy transit spectrum, is commonly made from animal fats or vegetable oil – thus accounting for its “bio” nomenclature.
(Side-note: author uses biodiesel to run his car.)
TODAY: THE US… TOMORROW: THE WORLD…
After a multi-stop flight planned for the US in the L-29 later in 2008 or early 2009, team Green Flight will vie for a record-breaking circumnavigation of the world in a Bombardier Learjet executive-class jet aircraft.
Some of you may recall I wrote an article about the dangers of using biodiesel in cold weather when used with cars. On this topic of technical challenge…
While team Green Flight will no doubt have the very best of technology at their disposal, they are subject to the same dangers as users of automotive biodiesel. If anything, they are faced with further danger in the sense that, as with cars an air pilot cannot simply pull over to the side of the road at the first sign of trouble.
Green Flight engineers will have to address the possibility that their fuel may be wont to gelatinize into useless syrupy goo while flying in the frigid upper atmosphere air we commonly see in high-altitude commercial jet flight.
Careful planning will have to come into play before any high altitude flights may take place. With the expertise lent by former Learjet president, Bill Lear Jr., and former Air Force One flight engineer Chris Cordova – the project is sure to be well directed.
TRUE GREEN FLIGHT?
Assuming Green Flight overcome the gelling issue and are able to power their jet on biodiesel alone, their net greenhouse gas emissions could be very low – as much as 50-80% lower than a flight powered by conventional jet propellant.
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