Scientists from the US Agricultural Research Service brought good news to airlines seeking to lower their emissions with the development of a way to make a better jet fuel from soybean oil.
Though airline companies are already using blends of biofuels with conventional fuels to lower emissions, the amount of soybean fuel, which can be blended into the mix, has been limited due to a lack of aromatic components, which assure the smooth functioning of jet engine seals.
“We originally used soy oil because of its high quality, affordability and the refinery processes that exist. It’s also a commodity that we’ve historically worked with in Peoria,” said Ken Doll, a research chemist with the ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria. “But any oil that has significant oleic acid levels would work.”
The research effort is part of a government-wide commitment to enable the production of 35 billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel by the year 2050 from homegrown and other renewable sources.
The aviation industry emitted 905 million tons in 2018.