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Deemed as ‘New Generation and Environment-Friendly’, Aviation Fuel Set to Witness Massive Demand

February 06, 2020 | Energy & Power

Did you know that the world’s first airline was DELAG, Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft I, manufactured by the Zeppelin Corporation, headquartered in France, and founded on November 16, 1909? Aircrafts were used solely for defense purpose as fighter planes during World War 1. With time, aviation industries opened its gates to the commercial sector, and aircrafts started to be used for civil aviation purposes, i.e. to carry passengers and cargo. With time and technological advancements and rising environmental concerns, aircrafts today are gradually shifting from kerosene to aviation fuel. The first flight that used blended biofuel took place in 2008. Currently, only five airports distribute biofuel today namely Los Angeles, Stockholm, Bergen, Oslo, and Brisbane.

Common Varieties of Fuel Used in Aviation Industry

The aviation industry uses a variety of fuel depending on the model of the aircraft and various other factors. Some of the most commonly used varieties of fuel used in the industry are:

  • Jet fuel is a straw-colored fuel made out of a naphtha-kerosene blend called Jet B or unleaded kerosene called Jet A. It can be used in both turbine engines and ignition engines. Fuels based out of kerosene have a higher flash point than gasoline-based fuel. Therefore, kerosene-based fuels need a higher temperatures for ignition.

  • Avgas or aviation gasoline is created for predictable, safe, and stable performance under various weather conditions and are typically used in aircraft with Wankel or reciprocating engines. The formulation of avgas is distinct as compared to petrol used for grounded automobiles such as cars.

  • Biofuels are considered the future generation of aviation fuel. They are the alternative version of fossil-based aviation fuels and are made up of certain renewable sources, wastewater, vegetable oil, and others. The rise in concern about environmental degradation and the increasing rate of carbon dioxide emission is propelling the demand for environment-friendly alternatives to aviation fuel. Sustainable aviation fuel may stand a chance to the changing phase of environmental protection with the help of technology.

  • Compressed and liquefied natural gas is another alternative version of fuel that the aviation industry can turn up to in the future instead of the conventional fossil oils.

Military aircraft and commercial aircrafts both use jet fuel for running due to their cost and fuel efficiency. They are also utilized in engines of diesel aircraft. Another type of fuel used in aircrafts is the petroleum spirit used in engines with spark plugs such as Wankel rotary engine, piston, and others.

Greenhouse Emission: A Serious Concern for Future Aviation Industry

The rise in environmental concerns and the need for providing renewable energy as fuel in aircraft are fuelling the need for manufacturing fuel-efficient aircraft and energy-efficient fuel. Vehicles running on the ground are using alternative fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol, and thus, their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is decreasing. However, this contribution is expected to grow in the aviation industry since a reliable alternative to aviation fuel has not been implemented yet.

Increasing Carbon Emissions into the Atmosphere Increases Environmental Concern and Will in Turn Fuel Demand for Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Due to the limitation of using battery technology, powered by electric motors, it is not possible to fly commercial aircraft yet. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which is currently supporting the research, development, and deployment of alternative fuels predicts about a 6% share of sustainable second-generation biofuels will be achievable by the year 2020. Out of this, Boeing supported a target of 1% of the fuel used for aviation by 2015. So far only a few airlines are flying on sustainable energy fuel, but this is likely to expand in the coming years.

KLM (Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij), Royal Dutch Airlines, headquartered in Amsterdam is using a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels in a few of their flights. Factually, KLM was the first airline that operated a commercial flight using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in the year 2011. Sustainable aviation fuel is the same as that of biofuel, meaning fuels derived from biomass for instance plants, and other non-organic sources such as wastewater. When compared to fossil fuel, aviation biofuel is capable of achieving the reduction of carbon emissions by 85% throughout their entire cycle of production, the most crucial being the source of CO2 emission. The biomass used for making aviation fuel absorbs CO2 emissions from the atmosphere, and a few extra percent of these carbons are released in the process of production.

Name- Raginee Sarkar

Raginee currently works as a content writer at Fortune Business Insights. She comes with extensive experience in writing advertising and marketing content, film scripting, and news reporting. She strongly believes in quality content and thus prefers to write in a simple, elegant, yet impactful way.

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