A new study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has analyzed the fuel efficiency of 20 airlines operating nonstop flights between the mainland United States and East Asia and Oceania in 2016. The ICCT team found that the difference in efficiency performance between two co-leaders and the least... Read more →


The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DLR) and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are conducting joint research flights in Germany for the first time. The focus will be on alternative fuel emissions and the characterisation of ice crystals in condensation trails (contrails), using... Read more →


On 2 January 2018, the first serially-built Pipistrel Alpha Electro took flight in Australia. The aircraft, which received a Special Certificate of Airworthiness from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in October 2017, took off from Perth’s Jandakot Airport and conducted two circuits around Jandakot (the 5th busiest airport in... Read more →


Workhorse Group Inc., an American technology company focused on providing sustainable and cost-effective electric mobility solutions to the transportation sector, intends to spin off its aviation division, which includes its SureFly personal helicopter, into a separate publicly traded company named SureFly, Inc. SureFly, Inc. will encompass all SureFly aerial technology... Read more →


Ballard Power Systems has developed a next-generation high-performance fuel cell propulsion system to power unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones. Ballard has also received a follow-on contract from Insitu, a Boeing subsidiary, for extended durability testing of the next-generation 1.3 kW fuel cell propulsion system to power test flights of... Read more →


Aurora Flight Sciences demonstrates fully autonomous helicopter

Earlier this month, Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing Company, conducted a successful demonstration of the company’s autonomous helicopter system developed under the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System (AACUS) program. Held at Marine Corps Base Quantico’s Urban Training Center, the AACUS-Enabled UH-1H (AEH-1) conducted multiple flights,... Read more →


Airbus and Williams Advanced Engineering have signed a memorandum of understanding under which the two companies will focus on the ways in which ultra-lightweight materials, battery technologies and electrical cell chemistries can be integrated on Airbus’ Zephyr High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) program. In 2015, Airbus Defence and Space and Sion... Read more →


Aerion and Lockheed Martin announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today to define a formal and gated process to explore the feasibility of a joint development of the world’s first supersonic business jet, the Aerion AS2. Over the next 12 months, the companies will work together to develop a framework... Read more →


GE Aviation testing 100% Gevo Alcohol-to-Jet fuel

GE Aviation has begun jet engine combustor component testing with 100% Gevo renewable alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ). The testing is being performed as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise Program (CLEEN). CLEEN is the FAA’s principal environmental effort to accelerate the development of new... Read more →


Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and Siemens have formed a partnership to develop a near-term hybrid-electric flight demonstrator for commercial aircraft. The partners expect the E-Fan X series-hybrid-electric technology demonstrator to fly in 2020 following a ground test campaign, provisionally on a BAe 146 flying testbed, with one of the aircraft’s four gas... Read more →


Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has entered into an agreement to acquire Terrafugia, a US-based company developing practical flying cars.Terrafugia was founded in 2006 by five MIT graduates; since then, the company has delivered a number of working prototypes. Terrafugia aims to deliver its first flying car to the market in... Read more →


Neste and American Airlines collaborate to explore opportunities for renewable fuel use; High Freeze Point HEFA

Neste, the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel, and American Airlines, the world’s largest airline, have entered into an agreement to explore opportunities to further reduce American’s environmental footprint through the use of Neste’s renewable fuels. One goal of the cooperation will be complementary efforts to facilitate acceptance and commercialization... Read more →


Phase 1 of DOE-funded ABBA Integrated Biorefinery project begins; renewable jet, gasoline, diesel and nanocellulose

Phase 1 of the ABBA Integrated Biorefinery project, to be built at the AVAPCO Thomaston Georgia site, has begun. The project, which will co-produce full replacement renewable jet fuel, gasoline, diesel and Bioplus nanocellulose from woody biomass in an integrated biorefinery at AVAPCO’s site in Thomaston, Georgia, has received a... Read more →


Gevo, Los Alamos to collaborate to develop high-energy-density renewable missle fuel

Gevo, Inc. will be partnering with Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) on a project to improve the energy density of certain Gevo hydrocarbon products, such as its alcohol-to-jet-fuel (ATJ) (earlier post), to meet product specifications for tactical fuels for specialized military applications such as RJ-4 (exo-dime- thyltetrahydrodicylopentadienes), RJ-6 (a blend... Read more →


Gevo to supply alcohol-to-jet fuel to Virgin Australia

Gevo, Inc. expects to supply its renewable alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) (earlier post) to the Virgin Australia Group. The Virgin Australia Group will be responsible for coordinating the purchase, supply and blending of the ATJ into the fuel supply system at Brisbane Airport in Queensland, Australia. Gevo’s ATJ is expected to... Read more →


Agrisoma expanding partnership with Univ. of Florida on biojet fuel in US; Carinata seed

Agrisoma Biosciences Inc. is expanding its partnership with the University of Florida (UF) to advance the supply of biojet fuel in the United States. The Québec-based company and its subsidiary, Agrisoma USA, is working with a network of 40 academic researchers from seven universities associated with UF’s Institute of Food... Read more →


High-density renewable jet fuel from eucalyptus

Researchers at Washington State University and the University of Nevada developed a novel process for synthesizing dense jet fuel from mint, pine, gumweed, eucalyptus or other plants. The process, known as biphasic tandem catalytic process (biTCP), synthesizes cyclic hydrocarbon compounds for jet fuel from terpenoids, the natural organic chemical compounds... Read more →


Masdar Institute’s SEAS harvest marks critical milestone in development of sustainable aviation biofuel

Masdar Institute of Science and Technology’s Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC)—a non-profit entity supported by Etihad Airways, Boeing, Takreer, Safran and General Electric— announced that its flagship project, the Seawater Energy and Agriculture System (SEAS) (earlier post), has reached a critical milestone in its development of sustainable aviation biofuels through... Read more →


easyJet and Wright Electric: all-electric short-haul flights within a decade

European airline easyJet has outlined a strategy to progressively decarbonize and reduce noise from aviation operations. A collaboration with US company Wright Electric will support the goal for short haul flights to be operated by all-electric planes. Wright Electric has set itself the challenge of building an all-electric commercial passenger... Read more →


Mercedes-Benz Vans, US drone systems developer Matternet and Swiss online marketplace siroop have started a pilot project in Zurich to test an efficient van and drone-based system for on-demand delivery of e-commerce goods. The drone delivers the shipment not to the consumer, but rather to the delivery van, which handles... Read more →


British Airways partners with Velocys on renewable jet fuel from household waste

British Airways has entered a partnership with Velocys to design a series of waste plants that convert household waste into renewable jet fuel to power its fleet. The first plant will take hundreds of thousands of tonnes of household waste per-year, destined for landfill or incineration, including diapers, plastic food... Read more →


A team at the University of Delaware has synthesized renewable jet-fuel-range alkanes by hydrodeoxygenation of lignocellulose-derived high-carbon furylmethanes over ReOx-modified Ir/SiO2 catalysts under mild reaction conditions (170 ˚C, 5 MPa). Their paper is featured on the cover of the journal ChemSusChem. In their work, they found that Ir−ReOx/SiO2 with a... Read more →


The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Advanced Power Technology Office, along with Engineered Propulsion Systems and the Arnold Engineering and Development Center, recently concluded ground-based testing of an advanced diesel engine that promises to increase the utility and ease the logistics burden of military aircraft missions. The high-efficiency aviation diesel... Read more →


California Energy Commission to award up to $3M to support development of bio-oil as intermediate for renewable jet fuel

The California Energy Commission is issuing a solicitation (GFO-17-901) to provide up to $3 million in funding for innovative, pre-commercial low-carbon fuel production processes that result in the development of bio-oil as an intermediate fuel with wide-scale adoption potential used for renewable jet fuel production. For the purpose of the... Read more →


Pathway for CO2 catalytic processing of oleic acid into C8-C15 alkanes; jet-range hydrocarbons

Researchers in China are proposing new pathways for the CO2 catalytic conversion of oleic acid into C8-C15 alkanes. The yield of C8–C15 products reaches 73.10 mol% in a CO2 atmosphere—much higher than the 49.67 mol% yield obtained in an H2 atmosphere. In the the absence of an external H2 source,... Read more →


Continental Motors Group is expanding its family of diesel aero engines with the CD-265 and CDR-285 engines. The CD-265 is intended for fixed-winged applications while the CDR-285 is designed for rotary wing applications. As the other members of the CD-200 family, the CD-265 and CDR-285 are horizontally-opposed (boxer), four-cylinder, direct-injection,... Read more →


Parker Aerospace offering lubrication, combustion, & thermal management systems to cut aircraft engine weight, fuel consumption, and emissions

Parker Aerospace, a business segment of Parker Hannifin Corporation is introducing technologies designed to enhance the efficiency of aerospace engines in the areas of lubrication, combustion, and thermal management systems. Engine lubrication innovations include the first-time use of composite materials for engine lubrication reservoirs, deploying oil demister technology to reduce... Read more →


At the Paris air show, Airbus Helicopters unveiled the aerodynamic configuration of the high speed demonstrator it is developing as part of the Clean Sky 2 European research program. Codenamed Racer (Rapid And Cost-Effective Rotorcraft), this demonstrator will incorporate a number of innovative features and will be optimized for a... Read more →


New efficient biphasic catalytic process for conversion of biomass to dense jet-range fuels

Most current bio-jet fuels consist primarily of linear or branched chain alkanes; they suffer from low densities (~0.76 g/mL) and low volumetric heating values compared with those of petro-jet fuels. As a result, most alternative fuels have to blend with petro-jet fuels to meet the energy density requirements. Cyclic hydrocarbons... Read more →


In a large-scale test, researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), together with Lufthansa Technik and the Bundeswehr Research Institute for Materials, Fuels and Lubricants, investigated the chemical and physical properties of particularly promising aviation biofuels. The tests were carried out in a special... Read more →


Singapore Airlines & CAAS partner on “Green Package” flights; biofuels, optimized operations and fuel-efficient A350-950

Singapore Airlines (SIA), in partnership with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), has started operating a series of 12 “green package” flights over a three-month period on its non-stop San Francisco-Singapore route. The green package flights are the first to combine the use of biofuels, fuel-efficient aircraft—SIA’s Airbus A350-900—and... Read more →


Technion team devises method for on-demand H2 production from water and aluminum for aviation applications

Aerospace engineers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed and patented a process for on-demand hydrogen production from the reaction of activated aluminum powder and water for commercial aircraft applications. The hydrogen produced on-board during flight can be used in a fuel cell to generate electric energy for auxiliary... Read more →


Air Canada to operate biofuel flights in support of environmental research on contrails and emissions

Air Canada is participating in the Civil Aviation Alternate Fuel Contrail and Emissions Research project (CAAFCER), a research project led by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) to test the environmental benefits of biofuel use on contrails. This project will use advanced sensing equipment mounted on a research aircraft... Read more →


A new study by a team at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has concluded that the large-scale deployment of alternative jet fuels (AJFs) and the ability of the aviation sector to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through their use will be capped by a number of factors: the... Read more →


Boeing and Jet Blue back Zunum Aero, startup developing hybrid electric aircraft; focus on regional airports

Startup Zunum Aero, founded in 2013, is developing regional hybrid-electric aircraft for the early 2020s. Zunum is targeting 700 miles of range at launch to more than 1,000 miles by 2030. Zunum Aero intends for its 10- to 50-seat aircraft to enable frequent service to the nation’s network of more... Read more →


A Saab Gripen fighter has for the first time undergone a series of test flights with 100% biofuel. This demonstrates that the aircraft can be flown entirely with an alternative fuel and gives valuable knowledge for future possible use of alternative fuel. The tested fuel—Catalytic Hydrothermal Conversion Jet fuel (CHCJ-5)—was... Read more →


The Extra 330LE aerobatic plane, powered by a propulsion system from Siemens (earlier post), set two new speed records. At the Dinslaken Schwarze Heide airfield in Germany, the electric aircraft reached a top speed of around 337.50 km/h (209.7 mph) over a distance of three kilometers. The speed achieved by... Read more →


Ghent researchers develop new process to convert grass to drop-in hydrocarbon decane

Researchers at Ghent University have developed a process that turns grass into the hydrocarbon decane via a lactic acid intermediate. The process was the basis for the doctoral dissertation of Way Cern Khor. To improve the biodegradability of grass, pretreatments such as extrusion and calcium hydroxide pretreatment were performed; efficiencies... Read more →


The US Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) has published a report titled Alternative Aviation Fuels: Overview of Challenges, Opportunities, and Next Steps. The report provides an overview of the current state of alternative aviation fuels, as reported in findings by recent working groups, and also presents findings from... Read more →


California ARB staff considering including alternative jet fuel in Low Carbon Fuel Standard

The staff of the California Air Resources Board (ARB) staff is considering including alternative jet fuel (AJF) in the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). ARB staff is hosting a public working meeting today to consider the matter. In 2009, the ARB approved the LCFS regulation to reduce the carbon intensity... Read more →


NASA-led study finds 50 vol% biofuel blend reduces soot particle emissions during aircraft cruising; reduced climatic impact of contrails

A 50:50 by volume blend of conventional Jet A aviation fuel and an aviation biofuel made from Camelina reduces soot particle number and mass emissions from the aircraft by 50 to 70% compared to conventional fuel, according to a new study published in the scientific journal Nature. The findings are... Read more →


The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the Brazilian aerospace agency Agência Espacial Brasileira (AEB) have successfully completed the first burn tests for two newly designed injection heads enabling the development of a new rocket that is fueled with oxygen and alcohol. The final injection... Read more →


An electric-drive Extra 330LE aerobatics plane recently set a world record in ascent in the category of “Electric aircraft weighing up to 1,000 kilograms. The pilot reached an altitude of 3,000 meters in only four minutes and 22 seconds, beating the previous record by one minute and 10 seconds. The... Read more →


US DOD to award $55M for advanced drop-in biofuels production; 10M gallons/year

The US Air Force Research Laboratory, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate (AFRL/RX) has issued a funding opportunity (FOA-RQKM-2017-0006) for up to $55 million to design, retrofit, construct, operate, validate and qualify domestic, commercial-scale, an integrated biorefinery(s) capable of producing bio-equivalent fuels suitable for military use with a rated capacity of at... Read more →


Port of Seattle, Boeing and Alaska Airlines release aviation biofuel infrastructure findings

​The Port of Seattle, Boeing and Alaska Airlines released a first-of-its-kind study that identifies the best infrastructure options for delivering aviation biofuel to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. In pursuit of its goal to power every flight at Sea-Tac with sustainable aviation biofuel, Sea-Tac is among the first airports in North America... Read more →


DOE awards LanzaTech $4M for low-carbon jet & diesel demo plant; 3M gpy; Audi evaluating fuel properties

LanzaTech has been selected by the Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) to receive a $4-million award to design and plan a demonstration-scale facility using industrial off gases to produce 3 million gallons/year of low-carbon jet and diesel fuels. The LanzaTech award was one of six totaling $12.9 million.... Read more →


Researchers in China have developed an integrated two-bed continuous flow reactor process for the direct synthesis with high carbon yields (~70%) of dodecanol (C12H26O) or 2,4,8- trimethylnonane (C12H26O2)—a jet-fuel-range C12 branched alkane—from methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), which can be derived from lignocellulose. The dodecanol as obtained can be used as... Read more →


Growth in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from shipping and aviation, based on demand for liquid fossil fuels, will undo nearly half (43%) of the savings expected to be made by the rest of transport in Europe through to 2030, according to a new study by consultant CE Delft, commissioned by... Read more →


Engineers at NASA Glenn are testing a new boundary layer ingesting (BLI) inlet-fan combination—the first of its kind ever to be tested. Originally conceived of as a propulsion system for generation-after-next (N+2), the BLI system could increase fuel efficiency by 4-8% more than the advanced engines airlines are beginning to... Read more →


WSU Tri-Cities researchers receive $50K NSF grant to test market potential for lignin pathway for biojet

Researchers at Washington State University Tri-Cities have been awarded a $50,000 National Science Foundation I-Corps grant to explore the commercialization potential of their new pathway for biojet from biomass waste. The WSU process, described in a 2015 paper in the RSC journal Green Chemistry, uses hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) of dilute alkali... Read more →