German Aerospace Center teams with NASA to test alternative fuel emissions and contrails

January 18, 2018 |

In Germany, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DLR) and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration are set to conduct joint research flights in Germany for the first time. The focus will be on alternative fuel emissions and the characterization of ice crystals in condensation trails (contrails), using biofuel as an example. The first joint DLR/NASA flights, which were conducted from Palmdale, California in 2014, showed that adding 50 percent alternative fuel for cruising flight reduces the soot particle emissions of an aircraft engine by 50 to 70 percent, compared to the combustion of pure kerosene. The planned research flights are intended to determine particle emissions and how they affect cloud formation through contrails, thus investigating their impact on the climate. From Jan. 14 NASA’s DC-8 research aircraft will visit Germany for three weeks and fly together with the DLR A320 Advanced Technology Research Aircraft. “We are delighted that NASA has chosen us as their partner for such an extensive joint mission in Germany,” says Rolf Henke, DLR executive board member responsible for aeronautics research. The research flights will start from Ramstein Air Base.

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