Company Flies Biofuel Rocket (Video)

Article written: 24 Jul , 2009
Updated: 24 Mar , 2012

Flometrics, Inc. successfully flew a liquid fueled rocket with a 100% renewable fuel, a version of JP-8 (Jet Propellant 8) and liquid oxygen. The 180 lb (81 kg) rocket was 20 feet (6 meters) tall, 1 foot (.3 meters) diameter and it was powered by a RocketDyne LR-101 rocket engine that was originally used as a steering engine on the early Atlas and Delta rockets. The rocket performance during the 15 second long burn was better than the performance of a similar rocket using RP-1 refined kerosene rocket fuel. It reached an altitude of approximately 20,000 ft (6096 m) and may have exceeded Mach 1. The biofuel ran cleaner than the standard rocket fuel that has been used before. Since the biofuel was originally designed for jets, it may be possible to tune it for better performance in rocket engines. The fuel was developed by the Energy and Environment Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota.

Source: Flometrics

4 Responses

  1. Torbjorn Larsson OM says

    A pretty funny business. Rocket launches, as most high-altitude burns, are likely high environmental loads. The mitigating circumstance is that they are relatively few.

    For many reasons, including environmental, high efficiency is at a premium. And JP-8 may be efficient. But it also contains a lot of additives to achieve this. [Wikipedia.] I suspect that a clean fuel would be environmentally preferable.

  2. Manu says

    Torbjorn: I agree.

    And what is a “renewable fuel” anyway? Fuel you can re-use?
    Now that would be cool!

  3. Flaming Pope says

    Wait isn’t hydrogen already renewable?

  4. Kevin F. says

    Good point, Pope!

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