US airforce checked out for synthi-fuel by 2011
What will you do after the war, skipper?
The US Air Force (USAF) is already well known for its wish to be free of dependence on oil imported from suspect overseas dictatorships. Ultimately, the plan appears to be for the USAF's mighty aerial armadas to run on fungus or algae-based biofuels, but in the nearer future the Yankee airmen would be happy with any kind of domestically-sourced alternative.
Now, however, the USAF has set a hard target, seeking to have its entire fleet certified to run on synthetic fuel blend by 2011.
The blend in question would be a 50-50 mix of regular petroleum-derived jet juice and synthetic stuff made out of coal. America has lots of coal.
Just four years might seem like an ambitious timetable, but in fact USAF experts believe that no modifications to aircraft will be necessary. This is purely a safety and testing issue.
"Currently every test indicates that jet engines can fly on a blend of synthetic and standard fuel... and it can be done with no modifications and no impact," said senior airforce bigwig William Anderson, briefing reporters last Wednesday.
A test programme is underway, and various aircraft have already flown powered by different kinds of arti-fuel. Further flights are to follow, and jet engines will then be pulled apart and examined for any signs of ill effects.
More coverage from Aviation Week here. ®
How the heck
did we get onto the subject of concentration camps ??????
Still at least in britain we dont have them any more, we may have a few suspect terrorists in long term detention, but at least they aren't kept outside in cages during the day
Since all fuels in use today are manufactured products they are ALL synthetic.
In the short term for our societies there is no option but petroleum replacement fuels that are usable in existing engines. Eg. Coal liquification technologies as discussed in this article.
In the medium to long term range we have electric and gas powered engines assuming battery tech gets good enough and that problems with hydrogen production, storage and distribution are solved.
America and fossil fuels
Stand back, I'm a geologist, this could get rocky (my coat? yes the one with the extra long sleeves that tie up at the back)...
America actually doesn't have a huge amount of oil. The USGS estimate, which is higher than almost anyone else's, puts proven US reserves at about 22 billion barrels (the precise number fluctuates depending on the price of petroleum) - about 2.5% of global reserves or 3.5 years of US consumption.
The potential for large new discoveries in the US is very low as the country has been thoroughly explored. There is some potential in very deep continental shelf traps and the very high Arctic, but it is always worth remembering that US oil production peaked in 1971 despite huge new production from fields under the North Slope and Gulf of Mexico.
Unconventional oil - shale and tar get more attractive as oil prices rise, but the US reserves of shale are predominantly in Colorado and Wyoming. They could be economically mined with current prices, but there is an insurmountable problem that one barrel of oil from shale needs three barrels of water - and the West is drying up as its water supplies are diverted to irrigation and the city. Shale is too bulky to transport for refining, so that problem seems to have no solution.
Hydrogenation of coal, yep it's a possibility, the new governor of Montana has said his state should become America's gas tank. Whether he could politically get the citizens of Big Sky country to accept the environmental cost is another matter. The same problem of water also applies - Montana has been in a two year drought now and much of the state is quite dry.
Finally, all reforming of hydrocarbons into synthetic crude produces enormous quantities of CO2. Even American politicians are starting to realise that global warming is a real problem and not a Hollywood plot gone wrong.