NASA partners with German, Canadian firms for alternative fuels
NASA has signed separate agreements with the German Aerospace Center and the National Research Council of Canada to conduct a series of joint flight tests to study the atmospheric effects of emissions from jet engines burning alternative fuels.
The Alternative Fuel Effects on Contrails and Cruise Emissions (ACCESS II) flights are set to begin May 7 and will be flown from NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif.
NASA's DC-8 and HU-25C Guardian, DLR's Falcon 20-E5, and NRC's CT-133 research aircraft will conduct flight tests in which the DC-8's engines will burn a mix of different fuel blends, while the Falcon and CT-133 measure emissions and observe contrail formation.
The Dassault Falcon 20E has been extensively modified by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, or DLR) for the kind of atmospheric research it will conduct as part of ACCESS II.
"Partnering with our German and Canadian colleagues allows us to combine our expertise and resources as we work together to solve the challenges common to the global aviation community such as understanding emission characteristics from the use of alternative fuels which presents a great potential for significant reductions in harmful emissions," said Jaiwon Shin, NASA's associate administrator for aeronautics research.
ACCESS II is the latest in a series of ground and flight tests begun in 2009 to study emissions and contrail formation from new blends of aviation fuels that include biofuel from renewable sources. ACCESS-I testing, conducted in 2013, indicated the biofuel blends tested may substantially reduce emissions of black carbon, sulfates, and organics. ACCESS II will gather additional data, with an emphasis on studying contrail formation.
Understanding the impacts of alternative fuel use in aviation could enable widespread use of one or more substitutes to fossil fuels as these new fuels become more readily available and cost competitive with conventional jet fuels.
Within NASA, ACCESS II is a multi-center project involving researchers at Armstrong, NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and the agency's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. This research supports the strategic vision of NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, part of which is to enable the transition of the aviation industry to alternative fuels and low-carbon propulsion systems.
As part of an international team involved in this research, NASA will share its findings with the 24 member nations that make up the International Forum for Aviation Research. DLR and NRC are participating members of IFAR and NASA is the current Chair.
Photo credit: Edwin Verin / Shutterstock.com
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.