This ought to make the Gorebots happy Posted by: McQ
on Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The AirForce is testing a synthetic fuel with a B1 bomber tomorrow which produces more of a carbon footprint than regular jet fuel:
The US Air Force has announced that it will carry out the first supersonic flight powered by Gas-To-Liquid (GTL) synthetic fuel tomorrow. A 1980s-vintage B-1 "Lancer" swing-wing bomber will take off from Dyess air force base in Texas, filled up with a 50/50 mix of ordinary petroleum jet juice and synthetic, and go supersonic above the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
This stage of the idea isn't environment-friendly in any way: the Fischer-Tropsch GTL process used to turn natural gas into liquid involves burning large proportions of the initial feedstock, so that a synthi-fuel powered flight is actually more carbon-intensive than a normal one.
But the reasoning should be obvious:
Rather than seeking to save the planet, the USAF is at present seeking to free itself from the vagaries of the global crude oil market. Not only are prices extremely high at present, much of the world supply comes from troublesome regions such as the Persian/Arabian Gulf, Nigeria etc.
Natural gas we have in abundance. Uninterrupted petroleum supplies is something we can't count on. Having a contingency for the possibility of an oil embargo or severe disruption is prudent - especially with Jay Rockefeller trying to give the national reserve away.
And before the Gorebots go catatonic on us:
And indeed, the US military is also seeking tech which could get jetfuel from alternative feedstocks - such as algae scum or even mushrooms - which could potentially be carbon-neutral one day.
Heh ... my guess is some of the Goracle's acolytes have been on mushroom-powered "flights" before, so this should come as good news.