Here are just some of the companies involved in biofuel development. Great Plains Oil & Exploration – The Camelina Company (Cincinnati, OH) and Accelergy Corp. (Houston) have teamed up to create a fully synthetic jet fuel similar to standard petroleum fuel using camelina oil. With more than 12 years of camelina development, Great Plains produces and supplies commercial quantities of biofuel. Accelergy has a proprietary micro-catalytic technology to increase the efficiency of the coal-biomass-to-liquids process and reduce greenhouse emissions.
ExxonMobil has announced it will invest $600 million in algae-biofuel research, and it has teamed up with Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI) to evaluate biofuel alternatives. The companies are looking at algae because it can be grown using land and water that are unsuitable for plant or food production, and it can be grown in a couple of days instead of a typical growing season. SGI is building a test facility in San Diego to study growing patterns and oil extraction techniques.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG), an airline-led users group, was formed for the development and commercialization of second-generation biofuels. Members include Boeing, UOP (a Honeywell affiliate), and about a dozen airlines. The group is committed to renewable fuel sources that don’t compete with food or water resources and require minimum land, water, and energy to produce.
Last month the Defense Logistics Agency’s Defense Energy Support Center and Air Transport Association (ATA) signed an alliance for the development and deployment of alternative aviation fuels. The intent is to establish a forum to spur market growth of alternative fuels.
“The airline industry and DoD collectively require more than 1.5 million barrels of jet fuel per day,” says James C. May, president and CEO of ATA. “By combining our talents and experience, we are better positioned to explore cooperative market engagement for fuel, improve the financial prospects for alternative fuels infrastructure, accelerate fuel certification efforts, and refine our methodology for determining environmental impacts.”
Testing and research
Testing is being done by airlines, military, and others in the industry.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is partnering with Swift Enterprises, a biofuel developer. Engineers at the Eagle Flight Research Center, at its Daytona Beach, FL, campus, will perform testing to switch nearly half of its aircraft fleet to Swift fuel. The fuel, synthesized from sorghum, has passed the FAA’s detonation test and gets more mileage that current aviation fuel.
Air Force scientists are also looking for cleaner, more efficient ways to fuel the military’s aircraft. An A-10 Thunderbolt II flew in March solely on a blend of biomass-derived fuel and conventional JP-8 jet fuel. The biomass fuel was derived from camelina, a nonfood rotation crop similar to soybean and mustard.
“This is the first step of many we’re going to follow through,” states Betty Rodriguez, chief engineer for the Air Force alternative fuels certification office. “We’re going to continue expanding the envelope, basically testing engines and testing aircraft.”
“The way we look at it is to figure out what fuels make the most sense from an aviation industry perspective — which ones have the potential to make the most fuel the most affordably with the least environmental impact,” says Tim Edwards, a senior chemical engineer with the Air Force Research Laboratory’s propulsion directorate.
“We’re at the cutting edge of alternative fuels,” Rodriguez says. “Everybody’s pulling together to make this possibility a reality, to create a family of fuels we can burn safely and won’t impact the performance of our aircraft.”
The Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuel Initiative has received the Joseph S. Murphy Industry Service Award.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Air Transport Association of America, Inc. (ATA), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, announced today that a core group of...
The Air Force's experiment is being watched by a commercial aviation industry eager to stabilize and cut fuel costs, which have soared along with the price of oil this year.
Air Force officials are in the process of evaluating and certifying alternative fuel for use in all their aircraft.