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NASA-led group to test alternative fuels

April 11, 2014, Washington, D.C. - NASA has signed separate agreements with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) to conduct a series of joint flight tests to study the atmospheric effects of emissions from jet engines burning alternative fuels.


April 11, 2014
By Carey Fredericks

The Alternative Fuel Effects on Contrails and Cruise Emissions
(ACCESS II) flights are set to begin May 7 and will be flown from NASA's
Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif.

 

"Partnering with our German and Canadian colleagues allows us to
combine our expertise and resources as we work together to solve the
challenges common to the global aviation community such as understanding
emission characteristics from the use of alternative fuels which
presents a great potential for significant reductions in harmful
emissions," said Jaiwon Shin, NASA's associate administrator for
aeronautics research.

 

NASA's DC-8 and HU-25C Guardian, DLR's Falcon 20-E5, and NRC's CT-133
research aircraft will conduct flight tests in which the DC-8's engines
will burn a mix of different fuel blends, while the Falcon and CT-133
measure emissions and observe contrail formation.

 

“Cooperation between DLR and NASA is based on a strong mutual
appreciation of our research work,” said Rolf Henke, the DLR Executive
Board member responsible for aeronautics research. “We are very pleased
to be performing joint test flights for the first time, and thus set an
example by addressing pressing research questions in global aviation
together.” 

 

ACCESS II is the latest in a series of ground and flight tests begun
in 2009 to study emissions and contrail formation from new blends of
aviation fuels that include biofuel from renewable sources. ACCESS-I
testing, conducted in 2013, indicated the biofuel blends tested may
substantially reduce emissions of black carbon, sulfates, and organics.

ACCESS II will gather additional data, with an emphasis on studying
contrail formation. 

 

Understanding the impacts of alternative fuel use in aviation could
enable widespread use of one or more substitutes to fossil fuels as
these new fuels become more readily available and cost competitive with
conventional jet fuels.

 

Within NASA, ACCESS II is a multi-center project involving
researchers at Armstrong, NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton,
Va., and the agency's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. This research
supports the strategic vision of NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission
Directorate, part of which is to enable the transition of the aviation
industry to alternative fuels and low-carbon propulsion systems.

 

As part of an international team involved in this research, NASA will
share its findings with the 24 member nations that make up the
International Forum for Aviation Research (IFAR).  DLR and NRC are
participating members of IFAR and NASA is the current Chair.