Virent has delivered 100 gallons of its bio-based jet fuel to the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) for testing purposes. Product testing will begin at Wright Patterson Air Force Base to validate Virent’s jet fuel against the standards required for qualification and approval of new aviation turbine fuels established by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). The validation plan includes fit-for-purpose, fuel system and combustor rig testing.
The jet fuel was produced at a new Virent demonstration plant built to produce drop-in jet and diesel fuels from 100% renewable plant sugars. The plant was constructed at the company’s facility in Madison, Wisconsin under a $1.5-million award received in 2011 from the Federal Aviation Administration and US Department of Transportation, through the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, and commissioned in January.
The plant has the capacity to produce up to 5,000 total gallons of fuel per year. Design, engineering and construction were performed in-house by Virent employees. This is the second operating demonstration plant built by the Company. Its Madison facility also houses a 10,000 gallon per year system that is optimized to produce gasoline and aromatic chemicals.
AFRL is looking forward to working with Virent and the FAA to evaluate the performance of this fuel. This larger sample will help generate the performance data needed to advance the technology toward engine and flight testing.—Dr. Tim Edwards of the AFRL’s Fuels and Energy Branch
Virent is developing two jet fuel products: Renewable Paraffins and Naphthenes (RPN) consisting of C9-C16 paraffins and naphthenes and an Aromatic Renewable Jet Blendstock (ARJB) consisting of C9 — C11 aromatics.
Virent’s technology features catalytic chemistry to convert plant-based materials into a full range of products identical to those made from petroleum, including gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and chemicals for plastics and fibers. The products are drop-in replacements that enable full utilization of existing logistics infrastructure without blending limitations.
The development of Virent’s BioForming technology platform (earlier post) is supported through strategic partners including Cargill, Coca-Cola, Honda and Shell.