With biofuels, research chemists at China Lake?s Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division are unlocking energy stored in plants to create fuel for the 21st century. Rather than using sugar-rich crops such as corn, these scientists use tougher conversion targets.
“Sugar's really a food source and we don't want to use that,” says Benjamin Harvey, a Navy research chemist. “Better are things made of cellulose, like newspapers, towels, shirts, or even bananas.”
The new versatile fuel, Butanol, freezes at minus 100 degrees centigrade, which means even in the Arctic it still would be a liquid, something especially important for powering jets that fly at high altitudes.