EERC claims first production of a military jet aviation fuel fully created from renewable feedstocks
Sat 4 Oct 2008 – The University of Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) has created what it describes as a 100 percent renewable drop-in JP-8 military jet fuel that has successfully met the required specifications. The EERC says it is expecting to produce a large enough sample for engine testing before the end of the year and is exploring partnerships with the private sector to move into full-scale production of the fuel.
The fuel has been created under a $4.7 million contract sponsored by the US Army Research Office and supported by the US Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
The technology involved in the production of the fuel, says EERC, takes advantage of feedstock chemistry to reduce capital and operating expenses, and the “feedstock-flexible” process uses various crop oils and waste greases. The process can be tailored to produce combinations of propane, petrol, diesel and jet fuel that are identical, it claims, to petroleum-derived fuels, enabling direct substitution with existing fuels and providing renewable options across all fuel needs.
EERC says samples of its fuel, created from “multiple renewable feedstocks”, were tested and evaluated at a US government facility, where it was found to meet all JP-8 specifications on all parameters, including freeze point, density, flash point and energy content. It has declined to disclose the feedstock sources.
EERC is a non-profit division of the University of North Dakota and “operates like a business and pursues an entrepreneurial, market-driven approach to research and development in order to successfully demonstrate and commercialize innovative technologies.” It claims its current contract portfolio is valued at over $227 million.
It says it is actively exploring partnerships with the private sector to move into full-scale production of the fuel and preliminary negotiations are underway with feedstock suppliers and oil refineries. Talks of building a large-scale Advanced Tactical Fuels Production Complex are ongoing, it reports.
“This builds on a solid foundation of expertise at the EERC in the area of alternative fuel production,” says EERC Director Gerald Groenewold. “The EERC is now uniquely positioned to provide drop-in compatible fuel from both fossil and renewable feedstocks, providing critical strategic opportunities for the US military as well as commercial aviation.”
The JP-8 fuel used by the military has very similar specifications to those of Jet A fuel in use on commercial aircraft.