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Can biofuels make spaceflight greener? UK space startups reveal plans for cleaner rocket launches

Can biofuels make spaceflight greener? UK space startups reveal plans for cleaner rocket launches

der_innkeeper

This is such a non-issue. A fully loaded rocket carries as much RP-1 as a 747. By the time we have the launch cadence to care, we are going to be well into CH4 engine usage. Even then, an extra couple thousand flights per year is a drop in the bucket.


JackJackson1SG8

Reducing space pollution may well be the single worst way to spend resources fighting global warming.


CatHairOnMyCarpet

RP-1 is gross and anything that can reduce its use would be great. I suspect green hydrogen (which exists now but not scaled), and green methane (which looks promising) will be cleaner though and more likely to scale to the industrial levels that a heavy lift industry will need. What is most promising about some of these is they are essentially using waste streams from other sectors as fuel. In some cases, this is stuff that people will PAY YOU to take. Smart move for small launchers trying to compete for low-price contracts.


reddit455

​ **Carbon-neutral fuel made from sunlight and air** [https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190613103146.htm](https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190613103146.htm)


MATTRESS_CARTEL_BOMB

As long as other uses for oil exist, RP-1 for rockets is nearly non-existent as a source of pollution. I've never heard someone say "green hydrogen" either. This sounds ridiculous to me - you can make hydrogen gas by electrolysis. There's no institutional inertia here, just put in a solar panel farm and have at it. You don't really see liquid hydrogen trucks on the road because there's no real point. It's about as easy of an industrial process as it gets. Regardless, this entire article is absurd and it's focusing on the wrong problem. CO2 output from rocket launches is basically nothing. For the utility we get from them, they're one of the absolute best. The real problem unique to rockets is the water vapor in the upper atmosphere, and no amount of switching to biofuel or even hydrogen is going to fix that. The only way around that problem is to build other ways into space, but we just aren't there yet. Either we need stronger materials or we need more clever ideas.


CatHairOnMyCarpet

Green as opposed to grey/brown hydrogen, which is how most of the world's hydrogen is current created.