Free «Modern Trends in Aircraft Fuel System» UK Essay Paper
As it is known, transport is one of the main criteria for the country's infrastructure. If all transportation routes were improper, export and import operations between countries and continents would fail and, therefore, over time it could lead to an economic collapse. Air transport accounts for the lion's share of all transport operations. Transportation of goods by air, of course, is more expensive, but the time spent on it is much less than by car or rail transportation. Leaders of countries are especially concerned about this kind of transport because the world economy depends directly on it. In the structure of the transport system of the United States, civil aviation is preferred in comparison with rail. The United States is a major exporter of aircrafts for many countries. Today, air transport is quite well developed in the US since more than a half of the world’s traffic is carried out by it. The current paper will discuss the latest developments in the aircraft system, namely airplanes in operation by major airlines of the world, and the process of improvement of the fuel system over the years.
Aviation industry is one of the fastest growing industries of the military-industrial complex in the United States. It is ranked as the first in the world in terms of the development of advanced technologies, scope and volume of production, product range, and number of people employed in production. Gill (2014) wrote “Unlike other transport modes, the air transport industry pays for a vast majority of its own infrastructure costs (runways, airport terminals, air traffic control), rather than being financed through taxation and public investment or subsidy (as is typically the case for road and railways)” (p. 5). A highly developed manufacturing industry base ensures development, release, upgrade, refurbishment, and recycling of all types of modern aircraft, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles. The level and scale of production of the aviation equipment will almost fully meet needs of the national armed forces in the nearest future. Large-scale public contracts contribute to the development of the US aviation industry to a large extent because the military and political leadership of the country pays attention to the production of military aircraft, providing a wide range of applications in various military operations.
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The US aviation industry has a complex composition, as well as development and intra-territorial structure, including manufacturing companies of all types and forms of organization of production (general and specialized), repair factories, recycling firms, and research and development institutions. The production base of aviation industry is formed with the help of enterprises engaged in final assembly of aeronautical engineering samples, aircraft engines, and other components of the aircraft.
Assembly plants, including enterprises for the production of unmanned aerial vehicles, thirteen of which have a capacity for production of combat aircraft and helicopters and four of which can be used for the production of unmanned flying vehicles, are the main production base of military aircraft. Analysis of the territorial structure of the US aviation industry shows that California, Texas, and Florida release the greatest number of aviation technologies. Main power for aviation technology production and its components, as well as research organizations and repair businesses are designed on the Pacific Coast of the USA.
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In general, it should be noted that leading American manufacturers of aviation technology in terms of experiencing the global crisis in the economy and the financial sector continue holding a leading position in this field and maintaining a sufficiently high level of sales, production, and research that will ensure a sustainable development of the aviation industry of the country in the foreseeable future. Platzer (2009) stated: “The aerospace industry sold more than $95 billion in aerospace vehicles and equipment (including defense and space) to overseas customers in markets such as Japan, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, and imported over $37 billion in aerospace products from abroad, providing a significant positive contribution of $57.7 billion to the U.S. trade balance in 2008” (p. 2).
In addition to the release of aviation technology samples, enterprises of the industry carry out activities relating to the modernization of the armament of aircraft types, development of previous versions based on the latest models, as well as repair and re-equipment of aircraft, serial production of which has been stopped. In addition, some assembly production capacities are stored as the backup ones.
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In the last two decades, a trend towards a larger US cooperation with foreign manufacturers of aircraft and equipment has been seen, but it is a reflection of general processes of globalization and generally not a sign of the weakening of the US aviation industry in the global arena. Expansion of interstate cooperation in the manufacture of both civil and military aviation technology is caused primarily by the desire of leading manufacturers to separate and reduce business risks.
It is necessary to note that a small company called Boom from Colorado has attracted attention of aviation experts from around the world. It wants to create a prototype supersonic passenger plane in 2017, which will fly at a speed of over 2,700 km/h. Hence, it will be able to reach London from New York in 3.5 hours. It is expected that the price of a transatlantic flight will not exceed the current value of a business class ticket. There will be lounge chairs for 40 passengers. The aircraft will be able to climb to the height of 18 km.
However, the question is how Boom wants to achieve success in such a difficult task as the creation of a supersonic passenger aircraft. After all, it is necessary to remember that other developers suffered setbacks in this field at different times. Kumparak (2016) wrote: “But it’s also worth noting that the team behind the plane has some serious talent in its blood: the company’s 11 employees have collectively contributed to over 30 aircrafts — having worked on things like the autopilot system on the 787, fighter plane engines, and flight dynamics on Spaceship Two” (p.1). The makers do not disclose all parts; however, it has become known that they want to use the most advanced jet engines and the latest composite materials. The company has also attracted employees from other aircraft companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman to this project. This company is a leading aircraft manufacturer in the United States. Besides, Boom has hired NASA experts and Pratt & Whitney workers.
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It is also reported that Virgin Company has already signed a contract with Boom involving the purchase of ten supersonic aircrafts. The contract amount is $2 billion. Virgin experts will help in the creation of a new machine. In general, the plane (in the case of its introduction on the market) can count on a certain niche because it does not have any competitors yet.Moreover, there is a certain move in this direction. Recently, for example, NASA and Lockheed Martin have begun to implement a joint project of a noiseless passenger supersonic aircraft with the working name of X-Plane. The first flight is scheduled to take place in 2020. It is expected that the aircraft will run on biofuel.
Traditionally, alternative fuels are studied and created primarily for cars. However, recently there has been a great interest in this issue from completely different industries, including the aviation industry. The increased attention given by aircraft representatives, in turn, has prompted active discussions among creators of biofuels and study of the cost-effectiveness of its various types suitable for aviation purposes. Today, the emission of carbon dioxide from aircraft engines is only about 1/9 of the total amount of carbon dioxide of all available cars on the planet. Despite this fact, environmentalists have expressed an active protest against emission of carbon dioxide by aircraft engines. They note that the carbon dioxide emissions produced by aircraft engines fall into the upper atmosphere and, according to many scientists, it does a significant damage to the environment. Besides, the aviation industry has been developing very rapidly.
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However, it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that unlike the automotive industry, the airline has always actively sought to reduce emission of exhausts from aircraft engines. Over the past thirty years, American manufacturers have not reduced the carbon dioxide emissions produced by their vehicles not a bit. As for civil aviation, reduction of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere has been achieved by 70% (in per passenger-mile measurements) over the same period.
Furthermore, the aviation industry has made every effort to further reduce harmful emissions. The plan of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30% by 2025. It is necessary to remember that fuel is a huge technical challenge. Jet fuel has to be very energy dense. Firstly, any airplane has a limited amount of its own volume. Secondly, aircraft tanks for fuel storage are limited not only in size, but also in weight of the filled fuel. Fuel of low energy consumption will inevitably lead to the reduction of the total net volume of the airplane. All this means that ethanol and other known kinds of fuel cannot be used as jet fuel.
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In addition, crops that are used today for the production of biofuel cannot be produced in quantities required for the needs of the modern aviation. According to some estimates, if people want to transfer all available aircraft to biofuel produced from grain, it is necessary to sow the grain in all available farmland territory of the modern USA for this purpose. Aviation companies know and understand this fact well. According to BBC (2012), “Under US law, 40% of the corn harvest must be used to make biofuel, a quota which the UN says could contribute to a food crisis around the world.” That is why they have been actively exploring the second generation of biofuel, namely oils of Barbadian coconuts and Brazilian nuts. These oils are more energy-intensive than ethanol. Another undoubted advantage of such crops is that these oils are not suitable for human consumption. Thus, it is not necessary to produce fuel from food.
Nonetheless, even these oils cannot meet all the needs of aviation. Most industry experts agree that the best long-term solution is likely to be associated with seaweed. Seaweed can produce oil crop by fifteen times more in comparison with the traditional ones that are now used for the production of advanced biofuel. Theoretically, every aircraft in the world could be equipped with fuel derived from the raw materials that are grown on an area of just West Virginia. In addition to all merits, during cultivation seaweed consumes greenhouse gases instead of producing them as in case of growing grains used for ethanol production. Industry experts in the field say that the possibilities are not limited.
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Scientists from the University of Michigan may have made a breakthrough in the technologies used for production of biofuel from seaweed. They have managed to come up with the technology that allows them to turn 65% of the seaweed mass into so-called biocrude in a minute. This product is similar to crude oil usually derived from the fast pyrolysis out of wood. Biocrude can be used in modern oil refineries. The new process does not require waiting a million years until natural raw materials turn into oil.
However, airlines, along with aircraft manufacturers and aircraft engines, have made great efforts to reduce pollution. Nonetheless, the aircraft still continues to fly using fuel. Reduced dependence on fuel has an enormous ecological and economic importance. It is clear that the developer who will be able to create viable alternative fuel will be popular among customers anxious to buy this product. As the solution to this problem, it is planned to spend huge amounts of money. The need for a viable alternative fuel is a global problem. A company, which will be able to find a solution to this problem will surely become well-known and successful.
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Thus, the US aviation industry is one of the leading sectors of the economy and its defence industry has advanced scientific research, production, and repair facilities. Current technological success in various sectors of the aviation industry, as well as accumulated scientific, technical, personnel, production, and resource potential allows the US aviation industry to maintain its leadership position in the world. However, the US has a lot of plans for the aviation system. Companies do not plan to be satisfied with what has already been achieved. They have a lot of goals and want to realize them in the nearest future.
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