Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
NASA The Military Transportation

NASA Fires Up Jet Fuel That Tastes Like Chicken 147

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-recommended-for-human-consumption dept.
coondoggie writes "It may never make it into everyday jet-fighter use, but NASA is checking out biofuel made from chicken and beef fat. The chicken fat fuel, known as Hydrotreated Renewable Jet Fuel, was burned in the engine of a DC-8 at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center as part of its Alternative Aviation Fuels Experiment, which is looking at developing all manner of biofuel alternatives to traditional Jet Propellant 8. The DC-8 is used as a test vehicle because its engine operations are well-documented and well-understood, NASA says."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

NASA Fires Up Jet Fuel That Tastes Like Chicken

Comments Filter:
  • I am disappointed that NASA engineers could not come up with a way to use the acronyms CLUCK and MOO.

    • Well, they're not DARPA.
    • I am disappointed that NASA engineers could not come up with a way to use the acronyms CLUCK and MOO.

      I'm disappointed because I read it as fuel that tasted like children, and that made more sense, 'cos you'd get a LOT more fat from rendering down the average American kid than you would from a chicken.

      • by Phoghat (1288088)
        Well Charlton Huston isn't around to yell that

        Hydrotreated Renewable Jet Fuel is made of people

    • by lxs (131946)

      Agreed. However this breakthrough means that in wartime the citizens will have to Eat for Victory to ensure a steady supply of raw materials, thus making war even more popular. It's a win-win situation really.

    • by dgatwood (11270)

      I am disappointed that NASA engineers could not come up with a way to use the acronyms CLUCK and MOO.

      Well, cluck moo, too.

      :-D

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @01:23AM (#35939000)

    it's on the orders of Xenu.

  • I thought it read "Tastes like Children" and was like "... how do they know...?" I'm glad the doubletake cleared THAT up...

    Biofuel, just one more thing that tastes like chicken.

    • I'm not so sure about this one. Chicken fat doesn't really takes like anything except... grossness.
    • by Petersson (636253)

      I thought it read "Tastes like Children" and was like "... how do they know...?" I'm glad the doubletake cleared THAT up...

      Biofuel, just one more thing that tastes like chicken.

      Ever syphoned gas from neighbour's car gas tank? By mouth?

      • by Sene (1794986)

        I thought it read "Tastes like Children" and was like "... how do they know...?" I'm glad the doubletake cleared THAT up...

        Biofuel, just one more thing that tastes like chicken.

        Ever syphoned gas from neighbour's car gas tank? By mouth?

        Would be more impressive to syphon by anus, but then of course you wouldn't taste anything...

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        I thought it read "Tastes like Children" and was like "... how do they know...?" I'm glad the doubletake cleared THAT up...

        Biofuel, just one more thing that tastes like chicken.

        Ever syphoned gas from neighbour's car gas tank? By mouth?

        You do know you're supposed to use a length of hosepipe, not just your mouth? Right?

    • by Phoghat (1288088)
      Just check out Things That Reportedly Taste Like Chicken (Graph) [tayloreason.com] and add this to the list.
  • by PaulBu (473180) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @01:29AM (#35939020) Homepage

    Is it because this fuel packs more bang for the buck than traditional one, or is it because everyone wants to "feel" being green, even when trying to fly to other planets (and using all of 0.0000001% of world's "non-green" emissions of "whatever")? ;)

    Just curious,

    Paul B.

    • I'll be kindof surprised if this biofuel can provide the same amount of amount of energy as an equivalent amount of fossil fuel. I think the idea is more along the lines of research: You do not necessarily know what will work, so try many different things. Take what seems to work, and then allow them to play together! Each area takes a common standard, with built-in flexibility, and comes up with their local fuel variant that works best where they are, but can still play with vehicles made somewhere els

      • by rgbatduke (1231380) <rgb@@@phy...duke...edu> on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @05:10AM (#35939812) Homepage
        Through the miracle of modern Google:
        Chicken Fat: 16,873 BTU/pound
        Fuel Oil #2: 19,237 BTU/pound

        In fact, I got this from a study that was investigating the advantages of mixing various animal fats with fuel oil to eke the latter -- for example a blend of 1/3 chicken fat and 2/3 fuel oil. You will all be pleased to note that this mix has 18,223 BTU/pound and that chicken fat is readily miscible in fuel oil. By itself it has a moderate tendency to produce ash in the burning process, but this is mitigated in the mixture. Of course this study is investigating the burning of this sort of mix in furnaces, but the principle is the same and I'm guessing that this mix would work fine in any engine that could run on fuel oil #2. An acquaintance of mine already has experience with the standard treatment of animal fats into an acceptable biodiesel (which involves adding a bunch of stuff e.g. methanol and filtering it) and this works too, but is a bigger hassle than just filtering and mixing.

        I also, of course, have the common experience of grilling fatty chicken with the skin still on, which can turn your entire grill into the moral equivalent of a rocket engine on short notice and "render" your chicken into little chunks of charcoal. There's plenty of energy in that fat, although less, as noted, than in standard grades of fuel oil. Alas, if untreated it is vulnerable to oxidation, a.k.a. "going rancid" and besides, however many chickens there are they are a lousy source of fat per se in terms of being able to provide a significant sustainable supply of biofuel. I suppose it is better to render the fat from the skins removed making skinless chicken parts, and better to remove this skin and fat than to eat it, but we're talking a drop in the bucket of energy demand.

        BTW, "tallow" (saturated animal fats) are little different from more polyunsaturated chicken fat in energy content. They appear to produce less ash burning on their own (hence tallow candles) but more ash in a fuel oil blend. Pretty interesting, actually.

        Children fat, however, was not listed. No doubt an oversight on the part of those conducting the study. Personally, I think that using children fat to power rock star tour buses and heat the homes of the elderly would cure the energy crisis in no time at all, as there is little that is wrong with this planet that wouldn't be seriously ameliorated by using up, say, 2-4 billion children (including some of the older children we sometimes refer to as "young adults") and dumping world mythologies in the process that encourage the unrestrained production of still more children. If we used children we could stay toasty warm in the winter and significantly reduce future demand on our limited energy reserves as well as every other fundamental scarcity created by the ongoing Malthusian disaster.

        rgb
        • by Muad'Dave (255648)

          Children fat, aka depot fat, is well-studied. Here's a PDF [google.com] that compares various types of fat/lipid. Our fat is approximately 47% oleic acid and 24% palmitic - no wonder I love the Caribbean! Here's a PDF [google.com] of all sorts of details.

        • by EdIII (1114411)

          You presented an ostensibly very well informed assessment of chicken fat being used instead of regular fuel. I did not know that Google performed miracles, but that makes your post all the more impressive due to the presence of Divine Intervention.

          At first I though you were an engineer, than I thought maybe some BBQ savant, and maybe an economist.

          In any case, your article was fascinating.

          Of course the whole thing makes me feel stupid because my first thought was not nearly as intelligent. I just kept wond

          • I just kept wondering if I was a spectator at one of the shuttle launches if the blast would engulf the viewing public in a heavenly fog of KFC-Goodness.

            You laugh, but a few years ago if you ran a diesel vehicle on privately scavenged biofuel, say peanut oil from a chinese restaurant or oil from french fry cookers from fast food places, you were supposed to pay a fuel tax (which bought you a special dye you could add to your fuel as a marker that you'd paid your taxes on the fuel you were using). This is even if you were a private citizen, basically saving the earth or whatever by burning a waste product instead of oil extracted from the ground at great e

    • by qubezz (520511) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @02:24AM (#35939228)

      Consider huge chicken rendering plants (the kind that make chicken nuggets etc), the kind that can load up a truck with green nasty chicken grease. As a purified lipid, it should have as much energy as vegetable oils. I would guess the grease would need to be cracked [wikipedia.org] to be something other than a bunker oil equivalent, since fat is solid at room temperature.

      Interesting the value that we humans put on animal lives: Miles per chicken.

      • by sFurbo (1361249)
        Fat is mainly esters of glycerol. Usually, fat is transesterified to methyl ester to make biodiesel. The methyl esters have much lower melting points, as their molecular weight is about one third of the glycerol esters. Biodiesel from animal fat is problematic, as turns to jelly at low temperatures. I don't know if DC-8s preheat the fuel, if they do, it shouldn't be a problem.
        • by wagnerrp (1305589)
          Jet fuels are all kerosene based specifically for the reason that at high altitudes (and low temperatures), it remains fluid. Something that is jelly at 30 below isn't going to be of much use.
      • by couchslug (175151)

        "Interesting the value that we humans put on animal lives: Miles per chicken."

        Chickens care even less except when it's their chick or in the case of roosters, one of their harem.

        Chickens find chicken quite tasty, and though our domestic chickens are bred for docility kill each other now and then for nothing much.

        • by slick7 (1703596)

          "Interesting the value that we humans put on animal lives: Miles per chicken."

          Chickens care even less except when it's their chick or in the case of roosters, one of their harem.

          Chickens find chicken quite tasty, and though our domestic chickens are bred for docility kill each other now and then for nothing much.

          Don't forget the greatest amount of fat is located in Washington D.C..
          All politicians should serve four terms: 2 in office, 1 in prison and one as jet fuel to truly serve their country.

    • by mirix (1649853)

      Well, jet fuel is almost kerosene. Which isn't too far removed from diesel in the scheme of things.

      Which leads to my thought that vegetable oil or tallow based biodiesel is roughly similar in energy to petro-diesel, of course it has other issues, like viscosity in cold weather and such... but I believe it is only slightly less energy dense. (suppose it depends on the exact feedstock, I can't seem to find a solid number in a quick look, but looks like 5-10% less energy).

      So, seems kinda gimmicky, as well, the

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        The cold is the problem. Jets fly at high altitude to get their best fuel economy. It is really cold which actually helps with efficiency. Jet engines are after all heat engines. The greater the difference between the hot and the cold side of the engine more efficient it will be. diesle turns to wax in those conditions. Oh and the reason they are using the DC-8 are.
        1. They got it cheap. DC-8s where retired from a lot of airlines about 20 years ago. They where then bought up cheap by cargo carriers and NASA.

    • by peragrin (659227)

      NASA does more than just space but also test beds advanced aeroflight concepts.

      alternative fuel and production is a big thing for the military to help cut down supply lines.

      Imagine aircraft carrier making their own fuel from seaweed and algee?

    • Is it because this fuel packs more bang for the buck than traditional one, or is it because everyone wants to "feel" being green, even when trying to fly to other planets (and using all of 0.0000001% of world's "non-green" emissions of "whatever")? ;)

      Just curious,

      Paul B.

      Actually, NASA has a very large and robust set of aeronautical research activities, that are largely unknown outside of the aviation community because either they generally aren't "cool" and "newsworthy" unless you're into planes. the aero research predates NASA back to the old NACA days.

      While the green aspect is a good hook; the reran value is developing alternatives to fossil fuels as a price hedge. As the price of oil rises; alternatives become more desirable, even if they are less energy - compact, si

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Is it because this fuel packs more bang for the buck than traditional one, or is it because everyone wants to "feel" being green, even when trying to fly to other planets (and using all of 0.0000001% of world's "non-green" emissions of "whatever")? ;)

      Just curious,

      Paul B.

      I'd rather bet it's because the Middle East became "an unreliable supplier" in a way CIA and whatever "war on concepts" can no longer fix.

      • by c6gunner (950153)

        I'd rather bet it's because the Middle East became "an unreliable supplier" in a way CIA and whatever "war on concepts" can no longer fix.

        You'd lose that bet. Oil-sands and shale-oil might be expensive compared to traditional oil supplies, but they're still cheaper than growing "biofuel". Canada and the US have more oil than the middle east, if you're willing to pay $20-ish a barrel to exploit it. And if you can get the greenies off your back.

    • Is it because this fuel packs more bang for the buck than traditional one, or is it because everyone wants to "feel" being green, even when trying to fly to other planets (and using all of 0.0000001% of world's "non-green" emissions of "whatever")? ;)

      Just curious,

      Paul B.

      Don't you want your rocket to be finger lickin' good?

    • by afidel (530433)
      This has *nothing* to do with being green and everything to do with the USAF being worried about the availability of fuel.
      • by wagnerrp (1305589)
        This has little to do with the USAF being worried about the availability of fuel, and more about the aviation industry in general.

        The ground transportation industry can move to electric fairly easily. Motor compactness, efficiency, and high torque are very advantageous for ground vehicles. The heavy weight of batteries really isn't that big of an issue. A lot of it is compensated by the smaller motors, and when regenerative braking is used, the inertia issues don't really matter. The only real issue i

        • by afidel (530433)
          That's all well and good but the real money and support on the hill for the AAFEX line of tests has been the USAF. Spending money to do research for industry isn't real popular with Congress at the moment but if the USAF brass tells the subcomity that it's a mater of national security it's pretty sure to get funded.
    • Is it because this fuel packs more bang for the buck than traditional one, or is it because everyone wants to "feel" being green, even when trying to fly to other planets

      No, it's because the name of the agency is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
       
      Everyone concentrates on what NASA does in space, and forgets that aviation is also part of their charter.

    • by sjames (1099)

      Being based on chicken fat and and potentially used in military aircraft, surely you mean more buck for the bang!

  • checking out biofuel made from chicken and beef fat.

    I love the smell of chicken and beef fat in the morning . . . it's the smell of victory!

  • by kawabago (551139) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @01:37AM (#35939052)
    If it burned human fat Jenny Craig Airlines with autoliposucting seats could have great rates and you get to your destination 50 lbs lighter!
  • by scsirob (246572) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @01:57AM (#35939142)

    How can chicken fat be a viable renewable fuel? The energy has to come from somewhere. Corn can be turned into biofuel, but can also be fed to chickens. I can't imagine turning corn into chicken, and then into biofuel is a better way. Not in the least because of the fate of chickens.

    Folkes, just because something from nature can be turned into a combustive substance does not mean it is renewable or green.

    • by Arlet (29997) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @02:02AM (#35939158)

      The idea is that you eat the chicken, and use the waste products for fuel. I don't think the plan is to set up chicken farms specifically to turn them into jet fuel.

      Of course, the big question is how big the supply of waste products actually is. I would guess it's not all that big.

      • Perhaps NASA will demand KFC go skin-free by 2015? :-) If the skin is the part of the chicken that retains the most oil when fried, the benefit to the consumer is a healthier product.

      • by Wiarumas (919682)
        Americans alone eat 60.4 pounds of chicken every year. I'd assume there would be plenty of fat as a byproduct to fuel a couple rockets.
      • I was interested in making biodiesel at home a few years back, and I called all the restaurants in a small rural town near where I live. They were already getting paid for their waste oil. We're starting to see commercially produced biodiesel even in some smaller markets. It's very reasonable to suspect that most if not all commercially produced animal waste fat is already being consumed by the biodiesel market. The industry average for corn based ethanol [carbohydrateeconomy.org] is about a 40% energy gain, as the OP stated it'
        • I was interested in making biodiesel at home a few years back, and I called all the restaurants in a small rural town near where I live. They were already getting paid for their waste oil.

          They've been paid for their waste oils and fats for decades, it's refined and what isn't re-used for cooking is used in soaps, cosmetics, and as feedstocks for dozens of other chemical processes. That's a dirty little secret that most bio-diesel advocates either don't want to talk about, or are unaware of - the market fo

        • by rubycodez (864176)
          since sugars and now proteins can be made into biofuels, have you tried the jack-shacks and porn theaters for raw material?
      • by c0lo (1497653)

        The idea is that you eat the chicken, and use the waste products for fuel. I don't think the plan is to set up chicken farms specifically to turn them into jet fuel.

        Of course, the big question is how big the supply of waste products actually is. I would guess it's not all that big.

        Should be enough to ship a cargo of low fat chicken meat/beef to KFC/Macas?

    • Folkes, just because something from nature can be turned into a combustive substance does not mean it is renewable or green.

      You apparently underestimate the number of Americans who routinely "knock out the fat" with their George Foreman grills.

      • by AGMW (594303)

        You apparently underestimate the number of Americans who routinely "knock out the fat" with their George Foreman grills.

        Well I've learnt something today ... I thought to "knock out the fat" was a euphemism for something else entirely.

    • Bah, you think to small.

      Take a small solar cell connected to a battery and a photoswitch running a light bulb near the chickens. The chickens eat the tasty insects drawn to the light. Add a little water and while you're waiting for the chickens to fatten up, you get eggs to eat with the corn you're no longer turning into biofuel. Additionally, the high-nitrogen chicken poop can be composted to fertilize the growing corn.

      In addition to being tasty, chickens are definitely renewable. And chicken poop is f

    • by DrKnark (1536431)
      My guess is the point of developing synthetic, or whatever you want to call it (I know there is work being done in synthesized fuel) jet fuel is to remove the dependency on oil (in military vehicles) in the event of future wars in the middle east. But I'm just guessing.
    • by wagnerrp (1305589)
      Considering the horrendous efficiency at which corn is converted to ethanol, I can't imagine using rendered chicken fat being all that much worse. Corn ethanol itself isn't a viable renewable fuel.
    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Actually you can make ethanol out of the corn then take the brewers corn and feed that to chickens, then people heat the chicken and you use the fat from processing the chicken parts.
      So yes this is renewable because you can make more chickens. Green? I find that some people in the Green movement can do the math in some very interesting ways. I remember someone telling me that a nuclear power plant produced more CO2 than a coal plant... Yea sure... If they don't like it then it is no longer green.

  • > The DC-8 is used as a test vehicle because its engine operations are well-documented and well-understood, NASA says.

    Does that mean engine operations for other jets are *not* well-documented and/or well-understood? That would be... troubling.

    • It's more likely to be simpler than that. They have a DC-8 rigged for engine testing. So they use that. And yeah, it's got a lot of history, so it is well-documented.
  • Don't know about taste, but if you ever trailed old busted Mercedes diesel modified to burn used cooking oil (especially on the Berkeley-SF corridor), you know the abomination.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Abomination? It smells better than whatever the fuck they put in the new low-sulfur diesel, which FEELS volatile when you breathe the fumes in a way that diesel never did before. Easier to breathe, too.

    • by CompMD (522020)

      The owner of said old busted Mercedes diesel really doesn't care, because while most other people are making car payments and crying at the pumps, he's laughing his way to the bank.

  • Train combustion engines to think of stuff that tastes like chicken as fuel. What could possibly go wrong?

  • So, they've decided to do to chicken what they've done for corn. Make it much more expensive than it currently is. Why do they feel the need to take inexpensive food and convert it to inefficient fuel? Corn was cheap and fed immeasurable numbers of poor people around the world, until they decided to inefficiently convert it to ethanol. Now they are going to take on the meat side of food production, and force the prices up there too. I guess they feel that there aren't enough starving people in the world yet

    • by AGMW (594303)

      Corn was cheap ... until they decided to inefficiently convert it to ethanol. ... I still don't understand why burning 6+ gallons of ethanol is so much better for the climate than 1 gallon of gas. ...

      I think I can help here. The problem, as many see it, is that burning fossil fuels (the gas, or petrol/diesel/coal/'gas') is releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere. If you grow corn (or whatever) you are taking CO2 out of the atmosphere as it grows, then converting it (which won't be free) to something to burn (w00t: ethanol) and burning puts that CO2 back into the atmosphere - do you see yet? OK, I'll explain. Because the CO2 was extracted from the atmosphere by 'growing' before being put back by 'burning

    • There are so many things wrong with your post that I'm not sure where to start:

      First, corn is only cheap in the USA because of the massive subsidies. It isn't cheap anywhere else, and in places where there are an abundance of poor people, it is not one of the major crops.

      Secondly, biodiesel from corn is typically made from the inedible parts (which make up the majority of the plant, although outside the USA it's not economically feasible to make biofuels from corn, since you only get about a 1.1 EROI -

  • by cheros (223479) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @03:42AM (#35939490)

    For years I have been reading that meat production is one of the major causes of the greenhouse effect (not talked about much, because it's politically easier to tax car drivers and industry than subsidised farmers).

    What exactly is the point of using that production for fuel? Would it not be easier to simply reduce the chicken production instead? Or find a way to make turn other waste into fuel. Actually, if we could turn red tape into fuel we could probably stop drilling..

    • by siddesu (698447)

      TFA says the major concern is price, not ecological considerations. Apparently someone in the gubbermint is betting that chicken fat will be cheaper than kerosene in a decade or two.

      • by cheros (223479)

        Thanks, that makes sort of sense (apologies about the double post, I got a site failure when I posted). There is, of course, the issue that there is always quite a bit of waste during meat production, but AFAIK we have food mountains too to keep prices up (depressing when there are so many people out of work on one side of the planet and people simply starving on the other side, but I digress).

        Cheers.

    • by danlip (737336)

      Beef and dairy production is a major cause of greenhouse gases because of cow farts - apparently they fart a lot and methane is worse than CO2. I don't think chickens would be as bad - you'd get some because they metabolize and breath out CO2, and you get some methane from the decay of manure (which can be captured and used), but it's less impact. And chickens have a much better input:output ratio caloric than cows.

      But the main point is if the fat is being wasted anyway it's better to turn it into fuel.

  • For years I have been reading that meat production is one of the major causes of the greenhouse effect (not talked about much, because it's politically easier to tax car drivers and industry than subsidised farmers).

    AFAIK biofuel is usually made of plants, so what does processing it through a chicken first add? Egg yoke? Would it not be easier to simply reduce the chicken production instead?

    Actually, here is an idea: if we could turn red tape into fuel we could probably stop drilling altogether..

  • This is old news, I have already seen that on Chicken Run.
  • Instead of growing vegetables like Soy and Corn to get the oil, which can then trivially be turned into something akin to jet fuel, we're going to grow the vegetables, feed them to chickens first, and then kill the chickens and use their fat to make jet fuel?

    • We were going to kill and eat the chickens anyway. I'd rather see vegetables used for food, and unwanted chicken grease used for fuel than to see the grease poured down the drain and the vegetables poured into a fuel tank.

      I've seen reports that show a net loss when converting vegetables directly into fuel. Government subsidies are they only reason it remains in practice.

      http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/July05/ethanol.toocostly.ssl.html [cornell.edu]

    • by wagnerrp (1305589)
      Well... except for the fact that corn can only be painstakingly turned into something akin to jet fuel. There's nothing trivial or efficient about it.
  • but does it smell like fish?
  • In Fight Club, they made soap from human fat.

    But fat can also be made into bio-diesel with the addition of lye and methanol. (Lye is supposedly what Brad Pitt dropped onto Ed Norton's hand to make it burn).

    So I'm assuming that they can collect all the waste product that goes into processed chicken plants (that's a lot, since the USA processes about 100 million chickens per day), add lye and methanol to the mix, and then process it further into some form of Kerosene, as that's what turbines (aka jet engines)

    • by wagnerrp (1305589)
      Methane is a cryogenic liquid (or high pressure gas), meaning in the event of a crash, there would be a huge release of flammable gas and an explosion. It would effectively result in near zero survivability from nearly any aircraft crash.
  • Xenu is working for NASA now?

Riches: A gift from Heaven signifying, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." -- John D. Rockefeller, (slander by Ambrose Bierce)

Working...