According to a new research, a new plant-based jet fuel which is being experimented could increase engine performance and efficiency when dispensed with aromatics.
The study published in the journal Fuel covers development of jet fuel based on lignin undertaken by Washington State University.
The researchers involved in analysis of the fuel used a range of tests and predictions to examine fuel properties that are critical to jet engine operation, which includes density, seal swell, efficiency, and emissions.
The analysis undertaken by researchers suggests that this sustainable fuel could be combined with other biofuels to fully substitute fuels obtained from petroleum.
The testing of lignin jet fuel produced some interesting results. The analysis led to the finding that the plant-based fuel not only increased energy density but also could totally substitute aromatics, which are a critical problem for the aviation industry.
Meanwhile, aromatics are associated with increased soot emissions and contrails, which are anticipated to contribute more to the impact of aviation on the climate than carbon dioxide.
In fact, aromatics continued to be used in fuel because of lack of solutions to some of the problems they are used for. Aromatics provide jet fuel with density not found in other sustainable technologies.
The most unique virtue of aromatics is their ability to swell O-rings that are used to secure metal-to-metal joints, which they do well.
The objective of the aviation industry is to fly sustainably, safely, and with least impact on human health.
Importantly, the researcher devised a patented procedure that converts lignin from agricultural left over into bio-based lignin jet fuel. This will help the aviation industry reduce reliance on increasingly expensive fossil fuels at meet higher environmental standards at the same time.