Thursday, March 12, 2009

Attention U.S. Air Force: Biodiesel That Conquers the Cold?

A couple years ago, in "DARPA Scramjet hits ludicrous speed" we had a quote from a University of North Dakota researcher:
"...When you get above 2 percent of biodiesel in the jet fuel, the freezing point rose.”

”It’s one thing if you stall a tractor in 44 below zero weather. You haul the tractor into a heated garage and wait for nature to take its course. But if you are at 33,000 feet (where it is equally cold) and suddenly your fuel line begins to freeze, that’s more than just annoying,” said Seames....

Today the New York Times' Green Inc. blog reports:

Bernard Tao, a researcher at Purdue University in Indiana, says he’s found a way to overcome one of biodiesel’s biggest hurdles: its tendency to thicken and gel up in cold weather.

For now, biodiesel users rely on fuel additives, fuel-system heaters, or blending with petroleum-based diesel fuel to mitigate the problem.

But Mr. Tao, a professor of biological and agricultural engineering, says he can make biodiesel that flows at 60 degrees below zero simply by separating out the various components of the fuel.

Integrity Biofuels, which is based in Indiana, recently produced 4,000 gallons of the cold-resistant biodiesel — dubbed Permaflo Biodiesel — using the new technique. Researchers have tested it in Indiana, but to prove the fuel really works in the cold, they recently brought it to Alaska....MORE