Aircraft Fuel from Plant Waste

  • Author: Marek Czykanski
  • Published: 04 April 2019
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: Joule/Elsevier
thumbnail image: Aircraft Fuel from Plant Waste

Biokerosene is two to three times more expensive than normal aviation fuel and, therefore, not economical. Ning Li, Dalian Institute for Chemical Physics, China, and colleagues have developed a synthesis pathway that allows the inexpensive production of high-density aviation fuel from plant material. Such a fuel can significantly increase the range and payload of an aircraft without the need for larger tanks.

In a first step, cellulose is extracted from plant residues such as straw, corn stalks, or sawdust. Dichloromethane is used to selectively convert it into 2,5-hexanedione. At normal pressure and temperature, this reaction produces a yield of more than 70 %. In the next step, the 2,5-hexanedione is repeatedly reacted with hydrogen to form longer chains of ring-shaped hydrocarbons. With the aid of a dual-bed catalyst system, polycycloalkanes with twelve and 18 carbon atoms are formed in an aldol condensation-hydrogenation and hydrodeoxygenation reaction of 2,5-hexanedione and hydrogen. According to the researchers, the resulting hydrocarbon mixture is ideally suited as a high-density aircraft fuel. At the same time, it could also be used as an additive to conventional kerosene to increase its energy density and improve the environmental balance.

According to the scientists, production is cheaper than with conventional high-performance fuel due to the favorable starting materials, only a few reaction steps, and low energy costs. This could make this biofuel competitive. However, the conversion of cellulose requires the toxic and environmentally harmful solvent dichloromethane. The researchers are looking for a sustainable and environmentally friendly substitute.


Article Views: 3022

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from, please contact us first for permission and consult our permission guidance prior to making your request

Follow on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on YouTube Follow on LinkedIn Follow on Instagram RSS Sign up for newsletters

Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies) published by Wiley-VCH