Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

New RAF wonder fuel

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

New RAF wonder fuel

Old 18th Nov 2021, 10:38
  #21 (permalink)  
Thought police antagonist
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Where I always have been...firmly in the real world
Posts: 1,142
Can we assume this new fuel will not be as fully utilised and distributed to deserving causes as "Avgas" was ?
Krystal n chips is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2021, 12:02
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Northumberland
Posts: 6,193
In the summer of 2020, Group Captain Willy Hackett joined the RAF Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) and it was suggested to him that using microlights for airborne experimentation with novel technologies made great sense. After a day trip to Kemble Flying Club at Cotswold Airport, Gp Capt Hackett realised the idea wasn’t as crazy as it sounded.

Using a microlight as an experimentation platform for cutting edge sensor and communication technology, instead of using a traditional military platform, would vastly reduce the carbon footprint and save the UK taxpayer a great deal of money.
https://www.flyer.co.uk/microlight-i...al-operations/
SWBKCB is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2021, 13:25
  #23 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Iondon
Posts: 23
There's a fair number of comments on here that seem to have missed the point.

One issue with wind farms is that when the wind is good then their generation exceeds local demands and is effectively wasted. A large amount of thought is being put into storing this excess electricity. This company can use excess wind turbine generation to take CO2 out of the air and store it as aviation fuel to be used later. The RAF have tested the fuel to ensure it meets their demands. If it's also as good a fuel as the existing one (UL91) then what's the problem?
Kent Based is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2021, 14:19
  #24 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Sussex
Age: 80
Posts: 4,559
Originally Posted by Kent Based View Post
There's a fair number of comments on here that seem to have missed the point.

One issue with wind farms is that when the wind is good then their generation exceeds local demands and is effectively wasted. A large amount of thought is being put into storing this excess electricity. This company can use excess wind turbine generation to take CO2 out of the air and store it as aviation fuel to be used later. The RAF have tested the fuel to ensure it meets their demands. If it's also as good a fuel as the existing one (UL91) then what's the problem?
Is that something you know, KB, or something you think you know? The problem with this bit of commercial self promotion is that we are told very little. I suspect that is because there is very little to tell right now. A small quantity of synthetic fuel was put into a small SE a/c and flown over Kemble. All the rest is hype. If the production process can be improved upon so that large quantities of AVTUR can be obtained at reasonable cost then it might well end up in the fuel tanks of RAF a/c (and that of LCCs too!). I very much doubt that process will be turned on and off dependent on the wind. Large capital investments as this would need continuous operation to justify that investment, quite apart from the physics and chemistry involved which most likely need the same. If Orkney can't use all the electricity it produces then pipe it into the National Grid. Can't imagine why that wouldn't be the case now, as we already receive electric power from Norway.
Chugalug2 is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2021, 14:26
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Chicago or Cheshire
Posts: 654
A discussion on the relative merits and de-merits of HEF Borane fuel for military aircraft would be interesting. I have always wanted to talk to one of the engineers who worked on that project.
Fonsini is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2021, 14:53
  #26 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Posts: 26,024
From elsewhere:
The ethyl derivatives of decaborane, made by Friedel-Crafts reaction of decaborane with ethyl bromide, was found to be easy to store and handle and was code named HEF-3 (High Energy Fuel-3). This was considered for use as fuel in the Mach 3 B-70 Valkyrie. But the programme was cancelled after spending millions of dollars. One reason was that borane-based fuels are highly corrosive and could spontaneously ignite. Also, when burned they produced solid combustion by-products, especially hard boron carbide and boron oxides, that became attached to the engine parts leading to mechanical faults and corrosion. In addition the sooty exhaust was highly toxic and has high visibility, making it unfit for defence use. Adding to this were the exorbitant cost of making such fuels and hence the borane-based fuel programme was abandoned.
BEagle is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2021, 15:10
  #27 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Iondon
Posts: 23
That Norway - UK pipeline cost £1.6bn! A fine outlay when large amounts of electricity are involved. Part of that includes a reliable lump of hydro generated power.

It's well known that wind farms can't economically store power yet. There's better articles on this particular story on fightglobal and other aviation websites, if anyone is interested further.
Kent Based is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2021, 15:10
  #28 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 81
Originally Posted by The Helpful Stacker View Post
I do love it when some old fart makes statements like this, seemingly believing that AVTUR is somehow more high performance than AVGAS.



As already touched upon, the alleged "higher performance fuels" the RAF use are kerosene-based, the stuff that can be used in lamps and heaters!

As an aside, the production and trial usage of synthetic kerosene fuels is old news, with Germany (among others) already funding increased development of sites for producing such fuels
Nothing new here. The Germans were already doing this during WWII !
Archer4 is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2021, 15:35
  #29 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Glorious Devon
Posts: 504
Siemens have been experimenting in this field for a while
https://newsroom.porsche.com/en/2021...ile-25683.html
Ninthace is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2021, 16:53
  #30 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Sussex
Age: 80
Posts: 4,559
KB :-

There's better articles on this particular story on fightglobal and other aviation websites, if anyone is interested further.
This you mean? Just more PR puff (and same Kemble micro-light)

Flight Global :-

Zero Petroleum and the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) have claimed a world record for a first aircraft flight conducted using 100% synthetic fuel.

Involving an Ikarus C42 ultra-light aircraft, the 21min flight was conducted from Cotswold Airport in Kemble, Gloucestershire on 2 November. It was flown by Group Captain Peter Hackett, the RAF’s head flight test pilot.



Source: Zero Petroluem

Milestone flight involved an Ikarus C42 ultra-light

Recognised as a Guinness World Record for the “first aircraft powered by synthetic fuel”, the milestone stems from an initiative named Project Martin, launched with the RAF in June 2021.

The Zero SynAvGas fuel for the flight was produced in Billia Croo, Orkney, by Zero Petroleum and IGTL Technology, via an adaptation of the Fischer-Tropsch process. This involves extracting hydrogen from water by using energy generated from renewable sources, before combining it with carbon dioxide captured from the atmosphere.

Zero Petroleum says this process can provide a “drop-in” alternative fuel, “without the need to adapt distribution infrastructure or engine design”. Such a solution is “crucial for sectors in which electrification is not currently an option, including aviation, agriculture and a wide range of high-performance vehicles”, it adds.

“We are particularly proud of the fact that this high-grade aviation gasoline was developed in just five months and ran successfully in the aircraft as a whole-blend without any modification whatsoever to the aircraft or the engine,” says Zero Petroleum founder Paddy Lowe. “Engine manufacturer Rotax’s measurements and the test pilot’s observations showed no difference in power or general performance compared to standard fossil fuel.”



Source: Zero Petroleum

No changes were required for using

Lowe adds: “I believe we have together made a significant mark in the history of powered aviation.”

“Climate change is a transnational challenge which threatens global resilience and our shared security and prosperity,” says chief of the air staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston. “I am determined to tackle this head-on and have set the Royal Air Force the ambitious goal to be net-zero by 2040.

“The way we power our aircraft will be a big part of achieving that goal,” Wigston adds.

The RAF earlier this year outlined a broad range of initiatives which are intended to reduce the environmental impact of its operations. These vary from potentially seeking an electric-powered replacement for its current elementary trainer fleet to investing in sustainable aviation fuel technologies.
Chugalug2 is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2021, 17:24
  #31 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Chicago or Cheshire
Posts: 654
Thanks BEagle, I also recalled reading that they proposed using conventional fuel for take off and initial climb, only switching to HEF when en-route to the target to avoid spreading toxic particles on friendly civvies. In spite of the significant and ultimately terminal drawbacks of using Boranes as “fuel boosters”, the range gains were very impressive. Similar and equally flawed in many ways to the proposed use of nuclear powered aircraft and missiles.
Fonsini is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2021, 17:43
  #32 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: GUESS WHERE NOW
Posts: 529
I thought the German military produce synthetic fuel about 1943,isn't this the same thing ???
SPIT is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2021, 18:08
  #33 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: uk
Posts: 3,047
Originally Posted by Fonsini View Post
In spite of the significant and ultimately terminal drawbacks of using Boranes as “fuel boosters”, the range gains were very impressive. Similar and equally flawed in many ways to the proposed use of nuclear powered aircraft and missiles.
Around 18 years ago Ammonia Borane was declared the chemistry of choice for the Infantry (but not by the Infantry), to replace or supplement various types of Lithium batteries.

You might well ask how this could be dictated, given the immaturity of the technology even today. The programme was not successful.
tucumseh is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2021, 18:13
  #34 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: UK
Posts: 320
Originally Posted by SPIT View Post
I thought the German military produce synthetic fuel about 1943,isn't this the same thing ???
I think they got theirs from coal, which is an expensive way of doing it but they didn't have a lot of other options.
Bing is online now  
Old 18th Nov 2021, 19:41
  #35 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Everett, WA
Age: 66
Posts: 3,454
Originally Posted by Bing View Post
I think they got theirs from coal, which is an expensive way of doing it but they didn't have a lot of other options.
Correct - in WW II the Germans created petroleum products from coal to compensate for shortages of the real thing.
Still has a massive carbon footprint though.
tdracer is offline  
Old 19th Nov 2021, 12:01
  #36 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Anglia
Posts: 2,027
Originally Posted by Herod View Post
Funnily enough, I was once told that it was possible to replace all the propellers with windmills, and use zero fuel. Then again, he was a university graduate.
I'm just think of the steps needed to get the crew off it....
Rigga is offline  
Old 19th Nov 2021, 12:41
  #37 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Glorious Devon
Posts: 504
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herod View Post
Funnily enough, I was once told that it was possible to replace all the propellers with windmills, and use zero fuel. Then again, he was a university graduate
.
Originally Posted by Rigga
I'm just think of the steps needed to get the crew off it....
Surely all you have to do is incline the windmill at an angle - I think they are called helicopters
Ninthace is offline  
Old 19th Nov 2021, 13:00
  #38 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Welwyn Garden City
Age: 61
Posts: 1,516
Originally Posted by Archer4 View Post
Nothing new here. The Germans were already doing this during WWII !
Have you seen the film The Formula, released in 1980 and starring Marlon Brando and George C Scott? By the way, is this new fuel the one which Oxford University have been working on? What will be interesting to see now, is what kind of reception it will get among the Climate Change Proselytizers?

FB
Finningley Boy is offline  
Old 20th Nov 2021, 11:54
  #39 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Iondon
Posts: 23
I did ask that if this fuel is as good as the existing one (UL91) then what's the problem?

I have heard that posters have issues with the tone/content of the article or the characters involved etc. This fuel can be used as a direct replacement for an existing fuel without any need to modify the engine. As others have said, synthetic fuels have been around for a long time, even longer than most folks on this forum! There seems to be an emotional backlash against it, but no constructive objections.
Kent Based is offline  
Old 20th Nov 2021, 12:04
  #40 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Sussex
Age: 80
Posts: 4,559
I don't think anyone is getting emotional KB. With the UK seriously short of sustainable and economic generated power, the RAF chooses to promote a synthetic fuel process that requires vast amounts of generated power. Go figure!
Chugalug2 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.