What would you think if you could burn jet fuel in your piston powered engine as opposed to 100LL? As the quest for a replacement heats up, a company in Maryland may have the solution. All it takes is the right piston, a little tweaking of the cylinder and some trick fuel injection timing. That's the general idea behind something called Sonex Controlled Auto Ignition, which can best be described as residing somewhere between conventional spark ignition and true diesel cycles, according to Sonex's Andrew Pouring, who recently sent us a white paper on the technology. SCAI doesn't exactly mean you could convert your IO-550 to burn kerosene, but a purpose-built SCAI aircraft engine could take the same form factor and, more important, would be nearly as light as a gasoline engine. How do they do that? By controlling the combustion event and keeping cylinder pressures under 1000 PSI, just as in gasoline engines. At the same time there are new efforts by the airlines and Boeing to develop a plan to replace today's jet fuel with biofuels from renewable sources. Finding an economical and environmentally friendly replacement for jet fuel for the airlines is a top priority in order to ensure continued economic growth and prosperity for the world's airlines. The goal is to achieve a carbon-neutral growth across the industry by 2020. Add to this the oncoming requirements for ADS-B out and the cost of flying general aviation aircraft is going to increase substantially in coming years. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7
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