UVA Engineering researching thermoelectric materials to improve efficiency of jet engines

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Engineering are seeking to improve the efficiency of jet engines by identifying and developing thermoelectric materials that can harness excess energy. Patrick Hopkins, professor and a director of Ph.D. studies in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UVA, is leading... Read more →


Bye Aerospace’s electric Sun Flyer 2 successfully completed the first official flight test with a Siemens electric propulsion motor 8 February at Centennial Airport, south of Denver, Colo. The Sun Flyer family of aircraft, including the 2-seat Sun Flyer 2 and the 4-seat Sun Flyer 4, aims to be the... Read more →


Reintroducing commercial supersonic transport (SST) aircraft into the global aviation fleet could have significant noise and climate impacts by 2035, according to a new study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). The paper analyzes the landing and takeoff (LTO) noise, sonic boom, and CO2 implications of introducing 2,000... Read more →


Fewer soot particles in the exhaust stream of aircraft reduces the formation of ice crystals and therefore the climate impact of the resulting contrail cirrus. Halving the ice particles that form in the contrail decreases the climate-warming effect of the contrail cirrus by 20%; the effect is halved if there... Read more →


Boeing has successfully completed the first test flight of its autonomous passenger air vehicle (PAV) prototype in Manassas, Virginia. Boeing NeXt, which leads the company’s urban air mobility efforts, utilized Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences to design and develop the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and will continue... Read more →


The Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC), a non-profit entity established by Masdar Institute that is part of Khalifa University of Science and Technology, announced the world’s first commercial flight using locally produced sustainable fuel on an Etihad Airways Boeing 787 powered by GE’s GEnx-1B engines. (Earlier post.) The flight from... Read more →


Gevo joins SFO consortium to advance sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)

Gevo has signed on to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a group of eight airlines and certain fuel producers to work cooperatively on expanding the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). (Earlier post.) The consortium, initially formed in September 2018, is the first of... Read more →


Neste Corporation will invest approximately €1.4 billion to add additional renewable products production capacity in Singapore. The decision is based on a growing global market demand for low-carbon solutions in transport and cities, aviation, polymers and chemicals. Singapore expansion. The investment will extend Neste’s renewable product overall capacity in Singapore... Read more →


British Airways challenges UK universities to develop a new generation of sustainable aviation fuel; part of $400M investment from parent

As British Airways looks towards its Centenary next year, the airline, in collaboration with Cranfield University, has challenged academics from across the UK to develop a sustainable alternative fuel which could power a commercial aircraft on a long-haul flight, carrying up to 300 customers with zero net emissions. This marks... Read more →


Renmatix and Gevo to evaluate feasibility of cellulosic hydrocarbons for renewable jet and gasoline

Gevo, Inc. and Renmatix, the leader in affordable cellulosic sugars, announced a joint development agreement to evaluate the commercial feasibility of creating renewable jet fuel by integrating Renmatix’s Plantrose Process (earlier post) with Gevo’s GIFT technology and alcohol to jet process (earlier post). Renmatix’s Plantrose Process converts cellulosic feedstocks such... Read more →


Amprius, Inc., a manufacturer and developer of high energy and high capacity lithium-ion batteries, announced that the company is supplying advanced lithium-ion cells to the Airbus Defence and Space Zephyr Program. Using Amprius’ cells, which contain a 100% silicon anode, the Zephyr S flew more than 25 days, setting a... Read more →


Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have utilized a series of simulations to model the performance of twin-engine hybrid-electric general-aviation propulsion systems. Their paper appears in the Journal of Aircraft. They created a flight-performance simulator to represent accurately the true flight performance of a Tecnam P2006T on a... Read more →


Audi, Airbus and Italdesign are presenting for the first time a flying and driving prototype of “Pop.Up Next”. This innovative concept for a flying taxi combines a self-driving electric car with a passenger drone. In the first public test flight, the flight module accurately placed a passenger capsule on the... Read more →


MIT researchers have demonstrated that an aircraft with a 5-meter wingspan can sustain steady-level flight using ionic-wind propulsion. The aircraft has no moving parts, does not depend on fossil fuels to fly, and is completely silent. The researchers describe their proof of concept for electroaerodynamic (EAD) airplane propulsion in a... Read more →


Japan-based biotechnology company euglena (earlier post) has completed the construction of its demonstration-scale biorefinery in Yokohama for the production of renewable jet and diesel fuels from algae and waste oil. The plant, which will use the Biofuels ISOCONVERSION process (earlier post) licensed by Chevron Lummus Global / ARA, will have... Read more →


NREL to lead $5M initiative to reduce energy use and increase energy efficiency of DFW

The US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will lead a team of researchers—in partnership with Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world—to identify new transportation technologies that could dramatically improve energy use, convenience, and affordability. Working with DFW and the... Read more →


JBEI researchers produce high density jet fuel precursors from bacteria

Researchers with the US Department of Energy (DOE) Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), with colleagues in China, have produced the tricyclic sesquiterpenes epi-isozizaene, pentalenene and α-isocomene—promising jet fuel feedstocks—at high production titers, providing novel, sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based jet fuels. An open-access paper on their work appears in Biotechnology for Biofuels.... Read more →


GE Aviation has completed the initial design of the first supersonic engine purpose-built for business jets. This new engine class, revealed as GE’s Affinity turbofan, is optimized with proven GE technology for supersonic flight and timed to meet the Aerion AS2 launch (earlier post). The Affinity is a new class... Read more →


Boeing- and JetBlue-backed Zunum Aero has selected Safran Helicopter Engines as the turbine provider for its hybrid electric commercial aircraft, which will be available in the early 2020s. (Earlier post.) Safran Helicopter Engines will provide a new generation engine turbine, the Ardiden 3Z to drive the Zunum ZA10’s electrical generator.... Read more →


After 12 years developing hydrogen propulsion systems for small unmanned aircraft (earlier post), HES Energy Systems is unveiled its plans for Element One, the first regional hydrogen-electric passenger aircraft. Designed as a zero-emissions aircraft, Element One merges HES’ ultra-light hydrogen fuel cell technologies with a distributed electric aircraft propulsion design.... Read more →


United Airlines pledges to reduce own emissions by 50% by 2050; Trans-Atlantic biofuel flight

United Airlines has become the first US airline to publicly commit to reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050, relative to 2005. The pledge represents the equivalent of removing 4.5 million vehicles from the road each year, or the total number of cars in Los Angeles and... Read more →


Swiss authorities’ decision leads to the cancellation of the Renewable Jet Fuel project in Geneva Airport

Geneva Airport announced in September 2017 that it aspired to replace 1% of the conventional jet fuel used for aircrafts with renewable jet fuel in a pilot project with Neste, the leading renewable fuels company. The partners made a case for project facilitation funding to the Swiss authorities. After a... Read more →


Findings presented in a new working paper by a team at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) suggest that the new generation of supersonic aircraft currently in development by three US-based companies (e.g, earlier post) are unlikely to comply with existing international environmental standards for subsonic aircraft. The ICCT... Read more →


The UK government is awarding LanzaTech, Virgin Atlantic and partners a £410k (US$543,000) grant for partial funding of the construction of a large-scale Alcohol-to-Jet (ATJ) facility producing commercial quantities of fuel in the UK. (Earlier post.) LanzaTech had submitted a bid to the UK Department for Transport (DfT) Future Fuels... Read more →


Gevo and Avfuel enter into renewable jet fuel supply agreement; first long-term commercial supply agreement for Gevo ATJ

Gevo has entered into a long-term agreement to supply its renewable alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) to Avfuel Corporation, effective 1 July 2018. Avfuel is a leading global supplier of aviation fuel and services to all industry consumer groups, servicing more than 3,000 locations worldwide. The agreement with Avfuel is Gevo’s first... Read more →


Velocys partners with PQ for FT catalyst manufacturing; secures funding for UK waste-to-jet project

Velocys plc has partnered with PQ Corporation (PQ) for the supply of commercial quantities of Velocys’ proprietary microchannel Fischer-Tropsch catalyst to be used in multiple biorefineries incorporating its technology. PQ is a leading global provider of specialty catalysts, services, materials and chemicals for the refinery, emissions control and petrochemical industries.... Read more →


ASTM International recently revised ASTM D7566 Annex A5—the Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons—to add ethanol as an approved feedstock for producing alcohol-to-jet synthetic paraffinic kerosene (ATJ-SPK). (Earlier post.) The revision of ASTM D7566 Annex A5 clears the way for increased adoption of sustainable aviation fuels because... Read more →


Shell Aviation and SkyNRG in strategic collaboration to advance use of sustainable aviation fuel

Shell Aviation and SkyNRG entered a long-term strategic collaboration to promote and develop the use of sustainable fuel in aviation supply chains. The collaboration combines Shell Aviation’s technical and commercial expertise, world-class supply chain and carbon management operations with SkyNRG’s proven track record of supplying sustainable aviation fuels and in-depth... Read more →


US researchers demo separation-free, IL-based process for conversion of biomass to advanced biofuel

Researchers from three US national labs (Berkeley, Pacific Northwest and Sandia) has demonstrated a separation-free, ionic-liquid (IL)-based process to convert biomass to an advanced biofuel (the sesquiterpene bisabolene). The process, described in an open access paper in the RSC journal Green Chemistry, is also the first to demonstrate full consumption... Read more →


Global Bioenergies to lead $24M REWOFUEL project to demonstrate the production of isobutene-derived gasoline and jetfuel from wood residuals

Global Bioenergies will lead a consortium including Sekab, Graanul Invest, Neste Engineering Solutions, Repsol, Peab Asfalt, SkyNRG, Ajinomoto Eurolysine, IPSB, TechnipFMC and Linz University in a 3-year project (called REWOFUEL) to demonstrate the production of isobutene-derived gasoline and jetfuel from wood residuals. Global Bioenergies will combine its isobutene process with... Read more →


NASA has signed a second space act agreement with Uber Technologies, Inc. (earlier post), further to explore concepts and technologies related to urban air mobility (UAM) to ensure a safe and efficient system for future air transportation in populated areas. NASA defines UAM as a safe and efficient system for... Read more →


US Army, Uber to partner on vertical lift research; stacked co-rotating rotors; Launchpoint for motors

Ride-sharing company Uber and US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, Army Research Laboratory, have entered a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to advance technologies supporting Future Vertical Lift. As part of this agreement, Uber and RDECOM ARL also signed their first joint work statement jointly to fund and... Read more →


Port of Seattle announces partnership for sustainable aviation fuels at Sea-Tac Airport; 10% minimum by 2028, 50% by 2050

The Port of Seattle recently announced today that 13 airlines, including Alaska Airlines, ANA, Delta Air Lines, Horizon Airlines, Lufthansa, Spirit Airlines and more, have agreed to collaborate on a work plan for providing all airlines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with access to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), a low-carbon and... Read more →


Velocys plc, a developer of microchannel Fischer-Tropsch (FT) biorefineries, has received a “notice to proceed” action to commence manufacturing the FT reactors and catalyst for the Red Rock Biofuels LLC (RRB) biorefinery that will be located in Lakeview, Oregon. RRB has begun construction of the biorefinery, which will incorporate Velocys’... Read more →


Researchers at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil have produced biohydrocarbons in the distillation ranges of gasoline, diesel and aviation kerosene from palm kernel oil and palm olein using beta zeolite (HBeta) under relatively mild process conditions. Deoxygenation, cracking and isomerization over HBeta were conducted in single step, without... Read more →


Global Bioenergies and SkyNRG to collaborate on ASTM-certification of bio-isobutene feedstock and conversion for sustainable aviation fuel

Global Bioenergies (GBE), the company developing a process converting renewable resources into isobutene via fermentation (earlier post), and SkyNRG, world market leader in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), will collaborate to accelerate the commercialization of Global Bioenergies’ approach to process isobutene into a jet fuel blending component. The companies will work... Read more →


ASTM International recently approved ethanol as a feedstock in ASTM D7566 Annex A5, the Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons for alcohol-to-jet synthetic paraffinic kerosene (ATJ-SPK). The revision of ASTM D7566 Annex A5 to increase the blend ratio of ATJ-SPK to 50% was also completed. Companies such... Read more →


NASA awards $247.5M contract to Lockheed Martin Skunk Works to build quieter supersonic aircraft

NASA has awarded a contract for the design, building and testing of a supersonic aircraft that reduces a sonic boom to a gentle thump. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company was selected for the Low-Boom Flight Demonstration contract, a cost-plus-incentive-fee contract valued at $247.5 million. Work under the contract began 2 April... Read more →


Delek sells AltAir renewable diesel/jet business to World Energy for $72M

Delek US Holdings has sold AltAir Paramount, LLC and Delek’s Paramount, California refining and pipeline assets to an affiliate of Boston-based World Energy, LLC, a major biodiesel producer. The sale includes all of Delek’s membership interests in AltAir Paramount, LLC which operates a 3,000 barrel per day renewable diesel and... Read more →


DOE awards $10.6M to ROGUE to engineer energycane, Miscanthus to produce oil for biodiesel, biojet fuel

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded the University of Illinois a $10.6-million, five-year grant to transform two of the most productive crops in the US into sustainable sources of biodiesel and biojet fuel. The new research project Renewable Oil Generated with Ultra-productive Energycane (ROGUE) kicked off on 25... Read more →


New research by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Carnegie Mellon University, SRI International and the University of Colorado at Boulder shows that drone-based delivery could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use in the transportation sector. An open-access paper on the research appears in Nature Communications. Drones have been used... Read more →


Joby Aviation secures $100M in Series B for electric VTOL; Intel, EDBI, JetBlue and Toyota

Venture-backed startup Joby Aviation has secured $100 million in Series B financing to take its all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) passenger aircraft into pre-production and certification. The financing was led by Intel Capital, and includes strategic investors Singapore-based EDBI, JetBlue Technology Ventures, and Toyota AI Ventures. Also participating are... Read more →


Vahana, the all-electric, self-piloted, VTOL aircraft from A³ by Airbus, successfully completed its first full-scale flight test, reaching a height of 5 meters (16 feet) before descending safely. The test was completed on 31 January 2018 at the Pendleton UAS Range in Pendleton, Oregon. Its first flight, with a duration... Read more →


First Qantas US-Australia biofuel flight; Carinata feedstock, Honeywell process

Qantas made the world’s first dedicated biofuel flight between the United States and Australia, Qantas QF96 from Los Angeles to Melbourne (a Boeing Dreamliner 787-9), over the weekend. The 15-hour trans-Pacific flight operated with approximately 24,000 kg of 10% biofuel blend, saving 18,000 kg in carbon emissions. Fuel for the... Read more →


Boeing HorizonX invests in lithium-metal rechargeable battery startup Cuberg

Boeing has invested in Berkeley, Calif.-based Cuberg, Inc., a startup founded by former Stanford University researchers developing next-generation battery technology for potential aerospace and industrial applications. Cuberg developed an advanced lithium metal rechargeable battery cell that is designed to be a drop-in solution to existing large-scale battery manufacturing processes. It... Read more →


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 →