Purdue to Test Biofuels for Aircraft

John Davis

U.S. Air Force planes could soon be flying on biofuels, and that fuel will be tested at one of the Midwest’s premier universities.

This press release from Purdue University says the school’s National Test Facility for Fuels and Propulsion is getting a $1.35 million grant from the U.S. Air Force. The facility at will be located at the Niswonger Aviation Technology Building at the Purdue Airport:

davidstanley“The aerospace industry now has an unprecedented interest in developing green aircraft using biofuels,” said David L. Stanley, an associate professor of aeronautical engineering technology at Purdue and principal investigator of the facility. “Testing will be conducted while fuels are being researched for development. This means input will be provided during the development phase, not after the fuel has been developed, which helps to ensure the best results possible.”

The facility, expected to open in late 2010 or early 2011, will test aerospace hardware in engines and aircraft and provide data related to fuel-sustainability and emissions goals and for economic assessments.

“This is a multidisciplinary research approach that begins with growing crops, developing fuels from those crops in the laboratory and then testing those fuels in engines,” said Denver Lopp, a professor of aviation technology and one of two co-principal investigators.

The release goes on to say that while the focus will be jet engines, some of the testing will also be on piston engines.

biofuels, Research