Air Force tests camelina jet fuel

Here’s my last update from last week (I think) and then I’ll try to post about my recent trip to Wacker Chemie’s annual press conference to talk about their sustainability strategies and their very interesting developments toward green chemistry.

Also in my draft are my interviews with Zeachem CEO Jim Imbler, and Antonis Papadourakis of Arkema’s Sustainability Additives group. Further down are some interesting bits and pieces from various interviews covering the issue of Bisphenol-A. This article just came out and I’ll put a separate post about it today. Sooo many information that needs to be posted!

And so where was I?

Ahh yes, I got this email from Honeywell about the first-ever flight of an aircraft last week powered solely on a biomass-derived jet fuel blend made from the non-food plant camelina. The US Air Force flew its A-10 Thunderbolt II jet aircraft at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida last Thursday, and everything went smoothly (as seen on the cool video below this post).

The hydrotreated renewable jet (HRJ) was made from a 50-50 blend of camelina-derived fuel and conventional JP-8 jet fuel. Players in the green jet fuel development include Sustainable Oils, which supplied the camelina oil, and Honeywell’s UOP, which developed the green jet fuel, as part of a DESC (Defense Energy Support Center) award that was announced last fall.

Sustainable Oils will continue to supply camelina-based jet fuel to the Air Force under a 100,000 gallon-contract of HRJ-8 beginning 2009 through 2010, and includes an option to purchase an additional 100,000 gallons between June 2010 and December 2012.

The Air Force plans for a second feasibility demonstration this summer using an F-15 Eagle to test performance parameters. A C-17 Globemaster III will be tested because of the amount of fuel it consumes and an F-22 Raptor test is planned because of the aircraft’s complexity. The latter two tests are scheduled to occur later this year.

“The Air Force is committed to reducing our reliance on foreign oil,” said Terry Yonkers, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics at the conclusion of the test flight. “Our goal is to reduce demand, increase supply and change the culture and mindset of our fuel consumption.”

By the way, I’d like to share this interesting article about the state of aviation biofuels development worldwide published in February by Flight International magazine (a publication of ICIS’ parent company, Reed Business Information). The article cited that biofuels’ consumption share in the aviation fuels market will be 15% in 2020 and 30% in 2030.

[Video information: B-roll scenes include the aircraft being filled with biofuel, preparing to take off, flying, landing and sound bites from the pilot and the AFCO Director. Video by (in-flight) SMSgt. Joy Josephson and (on the ground) TSgt. Peter Blanding.]

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