Food waste soon could be a radically new source of jet fuel. More environment friendly than other virgin biofuels, it could fuel costs while at the same time cut back on methane emission.
Reported in the National Academy of Sciences, the paper gives details on ways to transform organic waste into a form of paraffin. This material is a fuel close to kerosene and could be ideal for jet engines. This radical jet-fuel alternation could slash discharge levels by as much as 165% when compared to conventional fossil fuels.
The jet-fuel consumption of the aviation sector accounts for as much as 2.5% of carbon emissions globally. Several airlines have vowed to half their impact on the carbon footprint. Electric planes and hybrid fuel can achieve that to an extent, though biofuel is a more immediate solution.
The largest manufacturer of commercial planes, Boeing has released plans to manufacture planes using biofuel alternatives to jet fuel by the turn of the decade. United Airlines has introduced a biofuel blend in several flights. The airline says that it reduces greenhouse gases by more than 60%.
BioFuel As Jet Fuel
In the US, jet fuel is at present produced from either waste oils and fats, or virgin vegetable oil. But the use of food waste to manufacture jet fuel will serve a dual purpose, a greener fuel, and profitable disposal of organic materials from landfills. This helps cut down on greenhouse gases like methane.
Even manure and wastewater sludge can be potentially used to manufacture this new form of jet fuel. But a practical problem would be the greater water content of such waste. Researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory used a novel technique to control the fermentation that turns organic matter to methane. The process produces acid.
Finally, a procedure called ketonization converts the acids to paraffin that are akin to petroleum. The paraffin produced has a lower soot level and also a lesser freezing point than makes it ideal for the manufacture of jet fuel.
The jet fuel from waste can be produced and sold for $2.5 per gallon. This new form of jet fuel can replace a fifth of the conventional fuel and help towards a zero level of carbon emission.