National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Shanita Wilburn


The sustainability of aviation directly depends on the availability of fuel. With the growing gap between production and demand, increasing prices, and concentration of known reserves in politically unstable regions, biofuels are considered a viable alternative to securing the future of aviation. Biofuels are a renewable energy source, which could be customized to different fuel needs, including jet fuel. NASA GRC has initiated a pilot program to develop in-house capabilities to study two principal sources of biofuels: sea water algae, and arid land halophytes. The present program is focused at putting together the initial infrastructure for the study, to developing a long-term program to study and optimize properties and growth parameters, and to develop collaborations with aviation companies, commercial ventures and government agencies to forward the application of biofuels to aviation needs.