Biofuels reduce emissions, says new NASA study

A study by NASA has shown that jet using biofuels have fewer particle emissions in their exhaust trails.

Harry Marcolis | Mar 20, 2017

A study by NASA has shown that jet using biofuels have fewer particle emissions in their exhaust trails.

In a news release earlier this week, NASA said the reduction could be as much as 50 to 70 percent, and that the study is good news for both the environment and airline economics.

NASA gathered data from test flights in 2013 and 2014, looking at the impact of alternative fuels on the performance of engines, emissions, and "aircraft-generated contrails" seen at altitudes that commercial airliners fly.

According to NASA, contrails are produced by the mixture of hot aircraft exhaust with cold air.

According to the space agency, persistent contrails were of interest they created long-lasting, and sometimes huge, clouds that could not otherwise form in the atmosphere.

The clouds are believed to be one factor affecting the environment.

The study was carried out by flying three research aircraft, in turns behind another plane that was using the 50-50 mixture of aviation fuel and an alternative fuel produced from the Camelina oil plant.

"Soot emissions are also a major driver of contrail properties and their formation," said Bruce Anderson, a scientist at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

Meanwhile, scientists at NASA have revealed a plan to turn the sun into a giant magnifying glass, to locate new planets in ultra-high resolution.

The space agency will tap into a phenomenon known as Gravitational Lensing, which occurs when light from a distant object the sun in this case- is manipulated to warp around and view a much larger object, such as another galaxy.

If successful, this resolution could provide researchers with a much better and closer look at the surfaces of other planets.

Scientists will be able to the planets' geographical, atmospheric and other conditions.

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