Ordinarily, I like this guy. I’ve watched a number of his videos on aviation and space flight and have thoroughly enjoyed them all.
Until now. This video is so loaded with unscientific propaganda pushing for low-sulfur everything, even when there’s absolute so legitimate scientific basis that it’s sickening. Take a listen:
As a military aviator (rated officer) with 20+ years and 2,500+ hours of flight time, I’d like to take the time to dispel some myths raised by Curious Droid, whose many other videos I’ve watched with complete enjoyment.
1. “There are no such regulations on the aerospace industry.”
Yes, there are, with the parent category covered by 49 U.S. Code § 44714 – Aviation fuel standards, which states, “The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall prescribe—(1) standards for the composition or chemical or physical properties of an aircraft fuel or fuel additive to control or eliminate aircraft emissions the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency decides under section 231 of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7571) endanger the public health or welfare; and (2) regulations providing for carrying out and enforcing those standards. (Pub. L. 103–272, §?1(e), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 1195.)”
In fact, the earliest standards began in 1958 (Aug. 23, 1958, Pub. L. 85–726, 72 Stat. 731, §?601(e)), and all major industrialized countries have similar standards, including the EU and most member countries.
2. “You only have to see a B-52 taking off to get an idea of the pollution that can be produced.”
The G-models were “polluting” well into the 1990s. In fact, “Most B-52Gs were destroyed in compliance with the 1992 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty; the last B-52G, number 58-0224, was dismantled under New START treaty requirements in December 2013.”
But the “pollution” you see isn’t pollution, per se’, but rather, a mix of steam from the roughly 30 seconds of water injection used for take-offs and soot produced at full throttle. The water injection system capacity was 1,200 US gallons. That’s a lot of steam! The engines at full throttle produced a lot of soot. Combined, it looks dirty gray and very “polluting,” but at altitude and at cruise throttle, the G model’s J57-P-43WB turbojet engines produced far less soot.
3. “AVGAS, the aviation version of petrol used by smaller engine aircraft still has lead in it long after it was removed from cars.”
US annual AVGAS use hovers around 4,000,000 barrels (about 170 million gallons) per year. By comparison, US auto gas use hovers around 140 billion gallons per year.
Compare those numbers!
AVGAS is about 1/10th of 1% of auto gas. Also, consider where they burn their fuel. Thus, while lead was certainly an issue with automobiles choking cities by the millions, adversely affecting those who live in the cities, the thousand times less quantity of AVGAS, released into the atmosphere thousands of feet above the ground and almost always above the countryside, results in zero measurable effects on the citizens below.
But the greatest issue involves the engines. NBC News claims, “Consumer Reports says the average life expectancy of a new vehicle these days is around 8 years or 150,000 miles. Of course, some well-built vehicles can go 15 years and 300,000, if properly maintained.” By comparison, “Based on results from the 2001 GA survey the average age of aircraft in the active general aviation fleet is estimated to be approximately 28 years, with piston aircraft accounting for the majority of the aging fleet.”
While many new general aviation engines make use of the same advances in electronic ignition and sensors as found in modern cars, those older aviation engines absolutely must run tetraethyl lead ((CH3CH2)4Pb). If they don’t, they will die in short order. Due to burdensome FAA regulations, replacement engines are often not available, and those that are cost $50,000 or more, a huge burden to most plane owners.
But if you want to blame anyone, blame Congress and the FAA. Engine manufacturers like Lycoming would have gladly switched from engines that relied on leaded gasoline to avoid knocking, IF they could have done so economically. Sadly, burdensome regulations made that impossible. The hurdles placed upon manufacturers were ridiculously expensive while accomplishing very little. Many still read like a three-year-old trying to tell his or her father how to build a house.
Even so, automotive and aviation engines are significantly different. A turbocharged aviation diesel engine weighs half as much as a turbo-charged automobile diesel engine producing the same horsepower. Same goes for gasoline engines. The environments in which they operate are significantly different. You would never, for example. apply full throttle to a car engine and hold it there for twenty minutes during a climb from 70 degrees at sea level to 10 degrees at altitude.
Those design requirements mean engines cannot be built the same for aviation as they are for automobiles.
4. “Nearly all jet engines in use today use a form of kerosene called Jet A-1.”
Civilian jet and turboprop aircraft around the world use a variety of fuels, of which Jet A-1 is the most common. Jet A-1 has both a lower freezing point as well as anti-static additives which make the fuel safer to handle. But there’s also Jet-B, which has enhanced cold-weather performance, No. 3 (China, similar to Jet A-1), and TS-1, similar to Jet B. As for Jet A-1’s “military equivalent,” those would be JP-4 and JP-5 fuels (NOT JP-8 as you claimed), covered by the MIL-DTL-5624 and meeting the British Specification DEF STAN 91-86 AVCAT/FSII (formerly DERD 2452), are intended for use in aircraft turbine engines.
JP-4 was used by the Air Force, but had a very low flashpoint. JP-5 had a higher flashpoint and was used by the Navy aboard aircraft carriers.
JP-7 was used aboard the Lockheed A-12 Oxcart, the YF-12, and the SR-71 Blackbird. It had a very high flash point to contend with the high heat encountered during sustained supersonic flight.
JP-8 is a jet fuel, specified and used widely by the U.S. military in everything from jets to turboprops, tanks, diesel trucks, and HMMWVs. It is specified by MIL-DTL-83133 and British Defence Standard 91-87. JP-8 is a kerosene-based fuel, projected to remain in use at least until 2025. It was first introduced at NATO bases in 1978. Its NATO code is F-34. It includes a corrosion inhibitor and anti-icing additives
Again, JP-8 is NOT the “military equivalent” of Jet A-1. Your error in this regard is WHY I’m writing this.
5. “Jet fuel is a more highly refined, cleaner, dry version of diesel…”
In a word, NO. While it’s true jet fuel doesn’t contain the lubricants needed in piston diesel engines, the fact of the matter is that jet fuel isn’t diesel at all. It’s kerosene, and kerosene and diesel are NOT the same thing.
Long version: “The constituent molecules differ in the number of carbon chains. The lightest of them all is methane with CH4. Up to C4H10, the molecules are light and often used as paint solvents or dry cleaning agents. Then, from C7 to C11, that’s where gasoline is derived. Kerosene follows the chains of gasoline from C12 to C15. Kerosene is colorless liquid, usually dyed blue to distinguish it fro”m water in other parts of the world.
Predominantly, it is used in home heating and cooling systems because of its cleaner burning and fewer carbon dioxide emissions. Each type of fuel is obtained through distillation process which is made possible by the different boiling points of molecules. Consequently, kerosene boils between 302 and 572 Fahrenheit degrees. It is extracted before the petroleum diesel is extracted between 392 and 662 Fahrenheit degrees.”
“Diesel is widely known as the best alternative of gasoline with its low carbon dioxide emissions, low prices and high torque at slow speeds, etc. The fuel is used largely in industrial applications in heavy machinery. Its distinction from kerosene is characterized by more complex molecular chains. Its boiling point range is 392F and 662F; thus it is extracted after kerosene has been derived at 572 degrees Fahrenheit. “It is the difference in boiling point that has led to the extraction of the diesel and kerosene fuel from crude oil.”
Bottom line, please learn the technical details before you start spouting junk on YouTube.
6. “The reason why sulfur is not removed from jet fuel is that it’s not high enough to cause significant engine damage, and more importantly, there’s no regulatory requirement to do so. It’s cheaper to leave it in than it is to take it out.”
Your last line is just ridiculous. If that applied, there would be no removal of sulfur from diesel and gasoline, as removal does cost money.
Sulfur is removed from gasoline and diesel because both are used in dense cities, which lead to the formation of smog, a serious metropolitan health hazard. The reason there is no regulatory requirement to remove it from jet fuel involves precisely the same two reasons tetraethyl lead isn’t removed from AVGAS: A) Comparatively tiny volumes and B) it’s burned well away from metropolitan areas.
7. “In a jet engine, there are no catalytic converters or NOx absorbers, so soot particulates from unburnt fuel and sulfate go straight into the atmosphere.”
First, it’s a NOx “adsorber,” not “absorber.”
Second, it’s clear you don’t understand how it works, or that it’s a part of the catalytic converter itself, not a separate unit: “NOx adsorber-catalyst systems have been developed to control NOx emissions from partial lean burn gasoline engines and from diesel engines. The adsorbers, which are incorporated into the catalyst washcoat, chemically bind nitrogen oxides during lean engine operation. After the adsorber capacity is saturated, the system is regenerated during a period of rich engine operation, and released NOx is catalytically reduced to nitrogen. NOx adsorbers also require periodic desulfation, to remove sulfur stored in their washcoat.
8. “This is where much of the contrails, or condensation trails, you see come from.”
Uh, NO. They do NOT come from soot, NOx, CO2, or sulfur. Condensation is, quite literally, condensation of water vapor ALONE. While its true condensation at a particular temperature requires nucleation, it’s also true that condensation occurs at a lower temperature without nucleation when two water vapor molecules bump into one another, forming the beginning an ice crystal which itself continues nucleation.
If airplanes burned pure hydrogen, they would produce the SAME condensation trails utterly void of sulfur, as both jet fuel and pure hydrogen both produce H2O as a byproduct of the combustion process. It’s WATER, people, precisely the same as you see in every cloud. The reason we don’t use pure hydrogen has to do with the very high cost of production and transportability. That would be nice if it were feasible, but it’s not, so dream on.
I sincerely hope your inclusion of a “water vapour and sulpur [SIC]” in your diagram, along with the numerous mistakes you’ve made in the previous four minutes isn’t indicative of this being an anti-sulfur propaganda piece, and not an objective or well-researched article like the many others I’ve viewed from Curious Droid…!
9. GOOD coverage on the chemtrail conspiracy.
10. GOOD coverage on the “very complicated picture” regarding the net heating/cooling effect contrails have on our global climate.
11. Your comments about soot being a “problem” with RP-1 engines is misplaced.
First, rocket launches are extremely rare as compared to other forms of transportation. “On average, more than 100,000 wildfires, also called wildland fires or forest fires, clear 4 million to 5 million acres (1.6 million to 2 million hectares) of land in the U.S. every year.” Each of those forest fires produce millions of times as much soot as produced during an RP-1 fueled, F-1 powered Saturn V launch.
Once again, we’re talking about a negligible contribution some 700 billion times less than natural processes. To say that RP-1 fueled rockets don’t make a hill of beans bit of difference one way or the other would be an incredible understatement. They make no detectable difference at all.
12. Solid Rocket Boosters, on the other hand, can be corrosive.
However, hydrochloric acid (HCL) is found throughout the environment, most notably in the stomachs of nearly all animals, but also in the oceans. It’s a natural component of Earth’s ecosystem.
13. “The rising demand for low sulphur [SIC] fuel is pushing up the cost dramatically so that when aviation is brought into line the prices could [be] some what higher than expected.”
As proven above, sulfur in aviation fuel is a negligible contributor, hence the reason it is NOT regulated as has gasoline and diesel for roughly sixty years.
14. “In 2020 new rules will apply to ships banning the use of high sulphur [SIC] bunker fuel…”
Ships burn several orders of magnitude more fuel than does the aviation industry. Even so, the “need” to clean it up shipping release of sulfur has not been proven.
The Earth has absolutely no problem cleaning up a certain amount of pollution. Indeed, the fuel was obtained from the Earth in the first place, so we are in no way introducing something that wasn’t already there. Furthermore, volcanic activity produces huge quantities of sulphuric acid, something on which you clearly have yet to crunch any numbers.
Please do your homework!!! Just because the automotive industry has “had to clean up its exhaust products” because of its massive consumption of fuel does NOT mean industries with far less fuel consumption such as shipping or aviation “has to” do so as well.
That’s a fool’s errand, and a well-known logical fallacy. I’ll leave it up to you to research the name of that fallacy, if you can.