Biofuel

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NorthernWarrior
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Biofuel

Post by NorthernWarrior » 27 Apr 2008, 15:09

Reading a couple of the feature articles on the site, I notice some airlines are now experimenting with biofuel.

By the same token, now the better weather is here Mrs Warrior and myself have resumed our afternoon strolls on The Ridgeway, one can't help notice the number of fields now turned over to growing oilseed rape and similar (where previously wheat, barley, potatoes or turnips would be grown). So how many acres of biofeul crop would it require to fill the tanks of a medium airliner (say a 757) for a medium haul (1500 nm) flight? It is a question that occupies my mind every time I make a flight in FS2004/FSX and review the fuel consumption, trying to visualise the volume of liquid that has just consumed.

On a wider note I do wonder whether aviation or for that matter fossil fuelled ground transport can sustain its current level for much longer. The general concensus seems to be that peak oil has already passed and that things will change radically. How much longer can the oil last? I can see that 50 years from now, long haul aviation may be a thing of the past. We'll have a new breed of hybrid aircraft for short haul - using electrically driven solar powered propellers backed up by biofuel engines for takeoff and landing. Long haul, well I guess you could revive the airship concept - driven by solar power for daytime flights against the wind and some sort of windsail deployment for flights with a tailwind. However it would not be for the masses!

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Re: Biofuel

Post by Martin the Warrior » 27 Apr 2008, 15:14

Personally, I think biofuel isn't very useful for anything more than a transition fuel. It's just not practical to transform good farmland into crops for fuel, especially when there are still food problems worldwide, and a growing global population. I'm going to guess that the next big fuel source will be hydrogen, but as to how long that's going to take to arrive? That's anyone's guess.

I don't think you'll ever see longhaul aviation die. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if that's all that's left in 50 years. Look at Europe today: countries such as France and England are going to high-speed train service for short and medium distances. I've heard now that for any trip under 700km in Europe, a train is likely going to be more practical than an airplane. That may take a long time to develop in the US, as they're quite behind at the moment with train service, but it'll get there eventually.
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steve63
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Re: Biofuel

Post by steve63 » 05 Jun 2008, 03:58

Paul is right, biofuel is just a stop gap measure if not a fad. the economics of it make no sence,
The amount of good food crops that will disappear will drive food prices through the roof and millions in 3rd
world countries will die because the will not get the grain they need from the rest of the world because
it is being made into fuel. Even if these crops are planted in new areas you still need to water them and in alot of places
that will be very hard to do be cause the water sheds are ubder alot of preasure as it is to produce for what we have now.

Also the transportation cost to get it to the refineries will be expencive, lots of fuel burning trains and trucks.

To me biofuel is a government thing that they use to try and make it look like they are doing something about
replacing fosil fuels.
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Mosi
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Re: Biofuel

Post by Mosi » 06 Jul 2008, 21:06

I don't think replacing a farm to make biofuel is such a good idea. The world is already facing problems with food (i.e rice). It would just make the cost of food go higher with less farmland to grow necessary food items.
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Re: Biofuel

Post by mynetdude » 19 Aug 2008, 19:36

fuel replacement is a great idea, and its needed. How we go about it is probably one of the most deciding factor. Hydrogen, Biofuel, etc.

I'll bet airplanes could continue to use fossil fuels if all our ground transportation or at least 60-70% of it could use another form of energy such as hydrogen or hydrogen-electric hybrid. We already have some fuel-elec-hybrid cars out now getting 40-50mpg but they have a decently high price tag for them for the newest one.

I'd say if we could use another fuel for ground transportation for cars, SUVs, busses, small delivery trucks, large vans, etc. All we'd have left are large freight trucks, trains, passenger seagoing ships and airplanes still using fossil fuels and by doing it this way the supply and demand will only be limited to those major modes of transportation then the airlines and railroad, etc won't have to worry about running out for some time unless we keep using fossil fuels for everything we're gonna run out a lot sooner.

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