Over the past few years, we've heard about "green" airliners running on a mixture of jet fuel and biofuels made from things like plants and recycled cooking oil. Now, Boeing is looking at blending jet fuel with green diesel, which is already used to fuel trucks.
Green diesel is derived from oil and fat-based feedstocks, as are the biofuels that have been used in planes before. It differs from biodiesel, however, in that it's not processed in the same fashion, and has a different chemical makeup.
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According to studies conducted by Boeing, the blended aviation fuel should produce 50 percent less carbon dioxide than straight petroleum jet fuel. Additionally, green diesel should cost about the same as regular jet fuel, once US government incentives are factored in.
Existing production facilities that are already producing green diesel for ground transportation could conceivably meet up to one percent of the demand for jet fuel.
"We are collaborating with our industry partners and the aviation community to move this innovative solution forward and reduce the industry's reliance on fossil fuel," says Dr. James Kinder, a Technical Fellow in Boeing Commercial Airplanes Propulsion Systems Division.