The US Air Force Research Laboratory, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate (AFRL/RX) has issued a funding opportunity (FOA-RQKM-2017-0006) for up to $55 million to design, retrofit, construct, operate, validate and qualify domestic, commercial-scale, an integrated biorefinery(s) capable of producing bio-equivalent fuels suitable for military use with a rated capacity of at least 10 million gallons of neat biofuel per year. Cost competitiveness of the neat biofuel fraction with conventional petroleum-derived fuels is a primary goal.
The biorefinery—which may be either a brownfield expansion/modification of existing facilities, or new greenfield construction—is required to use domestic feedstock, and create an Integrated Biofuels Production Enterprise (IBPE). Expansions must add an additional 10 million gpy of capacity; new construction must support the 10 million gpy capacity.
The selected awardee must share at least 50% of the total project cost, putting the estimated total project cost at $110 million. The project will be executed in two phases. Phase 1 will received up to $8 million in government funding; phase 2 will received the remaining $47 million.
The resulting drop-in liquid transportation fuels are targeted for military operational use, and as such, must be approved and certified MILSPEC JP-5, MILSPEC JP-8, approved for US military use ASTM D1655 / D7566 Jet A/A1 and/or MILSPEC F-76 equivalents by the time the IBPE becomes operational.
The biorefinery must include a capability to blend the neat biofuel product with petroleum-based equivalent fuels, if required in order to meet approved certifications and specifications, and thus furnish a ready for use, drop-in biofuel blend. Capabilities and/or facilities to store and transport the resulting product must also be an element of the project.
The anticipated period of performance for this award is 66 months, including 30 months for Phase 1 (Planning, Preliminary Design and Financial Close), followed by up to three years (36 months) for Phase 2 (Construction, Commissioning and Performance Testing).