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Navy welcomes plant oil biofuels for Jets

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U.S. Navy testing biofuels in fighter jets

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The U.S. Navy has put out a call to biofuel producers for 40,000 gallons of their best JP-5 aviation biofuel for use in test flights of the F/A - 18 Super Hornet.

The Navy will decide by the end of the month who gets the contract for the test flights.  The choice of company will determine what feedstock will be used in the fuel, but jatropha, camelina and algae are all likely to be in the running and no food crops are being considered.  Regardless of which type of feedstock is chosen, it will be used in a 50/50 blend with petroleum-based jet fuel for the tests.

Ground tests of the biofuel will be conducted at a General Electric facility in the coming months and within the next year test flights will begin, covering at least 15,000 miles. Boeing recently conducted a successful test flight of a 747 using a 50/50 blend of jatropha and jet fuel and saw significant fuel savings and emission reductions.  It will be interesting to see if biofuels perform as well in a fighter jet.

The Navy hopes to have completed testing and approved a biofuel for use in their fighter jets by 2013 and is looking to do the same for its ships in the same time frame.

via U.S. Navy