University of Delaware are developing renewable jet fuel
The University of Delaware’s Catalysis Centre for Energy Innovation (CCEI) – an Energy Frontier Research Centre supported by the US Department of Energy – is developing an alternative jet fuel.
The researchers are looking into creating a renewable fuel made from corncobs and wood chips, as opposed to petroleum.
Last year alone, The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) handled approximately 43,684 flights every day, with the US military and commercial flights using 20bn gallons of jet fuel.
In 2016, global air travel contributed 815mn tonnes of CO2 emissions, which is 2% of the world’s manmade total.
The International Air Transport (IATA) has estimated that by 2035 the amount of people that travel by air will have nearly doubled since 2016, increasing from 3.8bn to 7.2bn.
The university’s Harker Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory, associated with the CCEI, are transforming plant materials into green products, such as new fuels and chemicals.
One of the greatest obstacles these experiments face is increasing the speed and efficiency of the chemical prosses coupling and deoxygenation, both of which are important for improving the flow of fuel at freezing sky temperatures.
“International planes may fly at an altitude of 35,000 feet, where the outside temperature could be as low as -14° Centigrade,” commented CCEI Associate Director Basudeb Saha.
“That's the temperature at which a plane has to run, and the fuel can't be frozen.”
Trafigura and Yara International explore clean ammonia usage
Reducing shipping emissions is a vital component of the fight against global climate change, yet Greenhouse Gas emissions from the global maritime sector are increasing - and at odds with the IMO's strategy to cut absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2050.
How more than 70,000 ships can decrease their reliance on carbon-based sources is one of transport's most pressing decarbonisation challenges.
Yara and Trafigura intend to collaborate on initiatives that will establish themselves in the clean ammonia value chain. Under the MoU announced today, Trafigura and Yara intend to work together in the following areas:
- The supply of clean ammonia by Yara to Trafigura Group companies
- Exploration of joint R&D initiatives for clean ammonia application as a marine fuel
- Development of new clean ammonia assets including marine fuel infrastructure and market opportunities
Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, President of Yara Clean Ammonia, said the agreement is a good example of cross-industry collaboration to develop and promote zero-emission fuel in the form of clean ammonia for the shipping industry. "Building clean ammonia value chains is critical to facilitate the transition to zero emission fuels by enabling the hydrogen economy – not least within trade and distribution where both Yara and Trafigura have leading capabilities. Demand and supply of clean ammonia need to be developed in tandem," he said.
There is a growing consensus that hydrogen-based fuels will ultimately be the shipping fuels of the future, but clear and comprehensive regulation is essential, according to Jose Maria Larocca, Executive Director and Co-Head of Oil Trading for Trafigura.
Ammonia has a number of properties that require "further investigation," according to Wartsila. "It ignites and burns poorly compared to other fuels and is toxic and corrosive, making safe handling and storage important. Burning ammonia could also lead to higher NOx emissions unless controlled either by aftertreatment or by optimising the combustion process," it notes.
Trafigura has co-sponsored the R&D of MAN Energy Solutions’ ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime vessels, has performed in-depth studies of transport fuels with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and has published a white paper on the need for a global carbon levy for shipping fuels to be introduced by International Maritime Organization.
Oslo-based Yara produces roughly 8.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually and employs a fleet of 11 ammonia carriers, including 5 fully owned ships, and owns 18 marine ammonia terminals with 580 kt of storage capacity – enabling it to produce and deliver ammonia across the globe.
It recently established a new clean ammonia unit to capture growth opportunities in emission-free fuel for shipping and power, carbon-free fertilizer and ammonia for industrial applications.