PNAA Conference Pt 3: Renewable biofuels

The future of bio-fuel is different from the bio-fuel today, says John Plaza, CEO of Imperium Renewables. He is speaking at the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance conference in suburban Seattle. It will be drop-in fuel, potential to be cheaper, meet same specifications as petroleum, equivalent to civilian (JP-8) and military fleets (JP-10).

First generation of bio-fuel is bio-diesel. Second generation will be the drop-in described above. Bio-fuels have to become multiple products as in the petroleum industry.

  • We’re seeing increasing density of bio-fuels, which increases BTUs and efficiency on long-haul flights.
  • WA State has one of highest recycling programs in the country but still generates a lot of trash (much of which is trained to Oregon). Trash can contribute to bio-fuel.
  • Bio-fuel without subsidy costs around $4/gal vs $3.25 or so for jet fuel, so there is still a price disparity.
  • 200 million gallons of jet fuel within 100 mile radius of wood slash can be generated.
  • Other feed stocks: Jatropha, Eucalyptus, mixed growth plots. Algae is interesting but requires more research.

6 Comments on “PNAA Conference Pt 3: Renewable biofuels

  1. Crops are supposed to feed people and animals, to aircraft engines! No one on this planet should die of starvation. Feeding airplanes with biofuels is not the best way to put an end to hunger. It’s just another human aberration.

    • Straw argument. There is plenty of land available after feeding people and animals.

      However, IF we accepted the argument proposed then we would not use oil in aircraft engines either as there are much more important uses for it. And unlike crop, it is not renewable.

    • But isn’t starving people the most effective way to stop man-made pollution (where’s the emoticon for terminal cynics?)

  2. The proper drop-in fuel is synthetic Fischer-Tropsch also know as synthetic paraffinic kerosene. (SPK) is already available. The issue at the moment is the higher cost. Several civilian and military aircraft have been certified for up to 100% blends,
    It is not in competition with food as the feeding source is more or less any organic waste.

  3. Drop-in fuel is a no-brainer. Nobody is willing to come up with a figure in the four digit billion range that would be required to make the fuel processing and distribution infrastructure compatible with something that doesn’t just drop in.

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