Wednesday, October 10, 2007

AGE85 - Renewable Bio AvGas

Being in California, when speaking about the Zeppelin, it often comes up that airships are a relatively green form of transportation. The question then arises -- can we run on biodiesel? The short answer to that is "no" -- our Lycoming engines run on Aviation Gas (AvGas), not diesel. However that doesn't mean that there aren't other renewable sources of fuel that are potentially suitable.

One such solution I ran across while doing some research is AGE-85 -- short for Aviation Grade Ethanol. Ethanol as an internal combustion engine fuel has been around nearly as long as the engines themselves. In modern times it was studied in earnest in the 70s, and is enjoying interest -- and development -- once again.

The beauty of AGE85 is that rather than requiring a switch to diesel engines -- no small feat -- AGE-85 can be used as a replacement for traditional avgas.

According to

"AGE-85 (Aviation Grade Ethanol) is a high-performance fuel that may be used in any piston engine aircraft. It contains approximately 85% ethanol, along with light hydrocarbons and biodiesel fuel. AGE-85 is specifically blended for cold starting and good mixture balance. AGE is unleaded, burns cleaner, has lower exhaust emissions and is more environmentally friendly than traditional aviation fuels. The ethanol in AGE-85 prevents carburetor and fuel line icing, and provides excellent detonation margins."

Sounds promising, if not yet a reality.

Der Ostwind

A few months ago, I purchased an Apple TV. Apple TV is sort of a video iPod, optimized for use with your TV, preferably a nice HDTV. You can purchase music, videos and movies from the iTunes Music Store, or load it up with content that you already have on hand. We have used it many times when guests have visited to show slides and movies of trips to Zeppelin. Sort of like dragging out the old 8mm film or slide projector was when I was a child.

Of course the first thing I did when I got it out of the box, was to look for some content to purchase. I didn't want to spend alot of time downloading, so I searched for shorts. While browsing the Sundance Film Festival, I came across what looked like an obvious choice -- Der Ostwind.

Der Ostwind is done in the style of Sky Captain -- a wonderful mix of live acting set on computer generated backdrops. It is the tale of an German ace that finds his match -- and struggles with questions of honor and self -- in the skies of WWI.

You can purchase Der Ostwind for $1.99 at the iTunes store.

Der Ostwind, widescreen, run time 0:10:45, German with English sub-titles.