Tomorrow's jet engines could be powered by chicken fatS

Why use corn for your biofuel when you could use chicken fat? That's what NASA wanted to know, so they tested out chicken and beef fat-based fuels on a DC-8. Turns out that they actually released far fewer pollutants in exhaust than other fuels.

According to NASA:

In late March and early April 2011, a team at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in California tested renewable biofuel made from chicken and beef tallow in one of the four engines of a DC-8 airplane.

The airplane remained on the ground during the test, known as the Alternative Aviation Fuels Experiment, or AAFEX, while aeronautics researchers measured the fuel's performance in the engines and examined the engine exhaust for chemicals and contamination that could contribute to air pollution. It was the first test ever to measure biofuel emissions for nitrogen oxides, commonly known as NOx, and tiny particles of soot or unburned hydrocarbon - both of which can degrade air quality in communities with airports. NOx contributes to smog and particulate matter contributes to respiratory and cardiovascular ailments.

"The test results seem to support the idea that biofuels for jet engines are indeed cleaner-burning, and release fewer pollutants into the air. That benefits us all," said Ruben Del Rosario of NASA's Glenn Research Center in Ohio . . . The experiment's chief scientist, Bruce Anderson of NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia, said that in the engine that burned the biofuel, black carbon emissions were 90 percent less at idle and almost 60 percent less at takeoff thrust.

Good news for jet engines. Bad news for people who like tasty, chicken fat-laced knishes and latkes.

Learn more via NASA.

(Thanks for the tip, Lord Illundiel!)