Climate change is affecting more lives than ever. Besides unusual temperatures for each season, there are many other consequences such as rising sea levels, coral bleaching, melting of ice sheets, and others. Thus, companies and consumers have become more aware of the impact they pose to the surrounding environment. A new study suggests that a jet engine that uses a biofuel mixture has a lighter impact on the world than the standard type of fuel.
Contrails Are a Combination of Ice Crystals with Residue
The new study measured the polluting trail that jet engines powered by a biofuel mixture may leave behind. The American space agency coordinated the research and it brought together an international team from Germany and Canada. While many people may have guessed that a fuel based on biodegradable ingredients is milder with the environment than any other kinds, the study brings evidence to support this supposition.
Scientists began by analyzing data based on the jet launches that took place between 2013 and 2014 in the vicinity of Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards. This body of information was recorded under a separate study called ACCESS or the Alternative Fuel Effects on Contrails and Cruise Emissions Study.
The contrails or the vapor trails that people can see with the naked eye from the ground are a result of the exhaust coming from hot jet engines mixing up with the cold air. This low temperature is typical for any aircraft as they usually fly several miles above the surface of Earth. The atmosphere here is mostly composed of ice crystals. Researchers focused on the implications of long lasting contrails. They thought that these gray clouds shouldn’t stay in the atmosphere for such an extended time. Thus, they might have a negative influence on the environment.
Biofuel Mixture Can Reduce Environmental Impact by up to 70%
The findings of the study suggest large amounts of soot emissions in the composition of contrails. This type of residue is highly connected to fossil fuels which are a major enemy to the environment. The last stage of the study was a series of tests with aircraft that used a biofuel mixture. A DC-8 was loaded with half renewable fuel and half with aviation fuel. There were three such jets that traveled for different distances ranging from 300 feet to 20 miles. This way, scientists managed to record details about emissions and contrails.
“Using biofuels to help power jet engines reduces particle emissions in their exhaust by as much as 50 to 70 percent, in a new study conclusion that bodes well for airline economics and Earth’s environment,” stated NASA.
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