Re: Future of airliners?

Organization: AlliedSignal Engines
Date:         07 Jul 95 03:25:07 
References:   1 2 3
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In article <airliners.1995.936@ohare.Chicago.COM>, Jennings Heilig <> writes:
> The Russians have a LNG powered Tu-154 flying around for quite a while
> now.  Only the right engine is LNG powered, but it's been proven
> technically feasible.  I believe I read that they used the regular Tu-154
> engine suitably modified to burn LNG.
> Anyone else have any info on this??

Gas turbines are very flexible in their choice of fuel.  About 10 years ago
we modified a "derelict" J-47 from our boneyard to run on natural gas for
use as a piece of lab test equipment.  The only modification required were some
new fuel nozzles and a some minor changes to the fuel metering and plumbing
to accomodate the gaseous fuel.  The engine ran with no problems. In fact the
exhaust smoke and emissions were greatly improved, and since we were running
the test in S. California, that made everyone very happy :=)

There are some technical problems with using a new fuel on an aircraft;

  - Are the BTUs per cu ft or per cu lb less than Jet-A?
  - What is the weight penalty associated with the insulation to carry
    liquified natural gas or methane?
  - What is required for production and distribution of the fuel to various
    airports world wide.

I'm sure there are a host of other problem as well, but for the most part
I believe that techincal solutions to these exist or can be solved relatively
easily.  Probably the biggest limiting factor is changing the fuel is economic,
how much are the airlines (and us passengers) willing to pay for the privledge?

Anyways, these are just my opinions.

Mark Johnston
AlliedSignal Engines
Phx AZ