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Making Air Travel More Environmentally Friendly with Science

Salad dressing and margarine are among soybean oil’s many food uses. But there are many non-food uses, too, including as biobased jet fuel. Blending biobased fuels with conventional formulations made from petroleum is one way the aviation industry hopes to emit fewer greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, which, in 2018 amounted to 905 million metric tons.

However, soy-oil-based jet fuel doesn’t have enough “aromatic” compounds, which help keep jet engine seals soft and working properly. ARS scientists in Peoria, IL, tackled the problem using a special catalyst that increases the fuel’s aromatics levels by 34 percent.  This means more soy-oil jet fuel can be blended with conventional formulations to make air travel more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Read "Making Air Travel More Sustainable with Soy-Fuel Innovations" to learn more.