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DOT Funding Evaluation of Syntroleum Synthetic Diesel Fuel

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded Integrated Concepts & Research Corporation (ICRC), approximately $2.6 million in cooperative agreements to evaluate the use of Fischer-Tropsch diesel fuel.

All three cooperative agreements are for the demonstration and evaluation of the ultra-clean diesel fuel produced from natural gas by Syntroleum Corporation using the Fischer-Tropsch process. The fuel is produced at Syntroleum’s demonstration plant at Catoosa, Oklahoma, that was built under a previous ICRC cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

The award is distributed over three agreements that cover work begun last winter by ICRC, as well as ongoing projects expected to continue for about two years.

These FTA agreements fund the evaluation of the Fischer-Tropsch fuel in transit buses and other diesel vehicles in several locations in the United States. The demonstrations ICRC will be conducting include evaluations of fuel economy, compilation of emission data, and studies of the fuel’s effects on a variety of diesel engines.

Several projects being conducted under the agreements are:

  • In Alaska, ICRC is working with the University of Alaska Fairbanks to test the use of arctic grade ultra-clean diesel fuel at low temperatures.

  • In Oklahoma, ICRC is working with Tulsa Transit to operate a new transit bus solely with ultra-clean fuel. The long-term objective for the study is to run the bus with ultra-clean fuel for the duration of its service life up to overhaul, approximately six to seven years, if continuing funding can be obtained.

  • In Alabama, ICRC is testing ultra-clean fuel in one of six heavily loaded trucks operated at the National Center for Asphalt Technology. ICRC is conducting tests to compare the clean diesel fuel with conventional fuel in such areas as fuel economy and engine-oil degradation.

Syntroleum uses a compact process to convert natural gas or synthesis gas resulting from gasification of a variety of resources, into a synthetic crude or paraffin wax which is then processed into ultra-clean fuels and chemicals. (Earlier post.)



Just what we need (and want the U.S. govt. to encourage/fund), make diesel fuel from another nonrenewable resource that is in scarce supply and at the highest ever prices its been at (at least here in the U.S.).

Maybe we can make the world Natural Gas production peak a few years earlier with ideas like this...


Making so called ultra clean fuel doesn't mean the whole process is ultra clean.

On the other hand, we have a large infrastructure of diesel buses; so perhaps this is cheaper than converting or buying new buses to run directly on natural gas.

Without a well to wheel analysis, it's hard to see the benefits of this technology.


Argonne did an update to their WTW study earlier in the year that I'll reference here in an upcoming post. They do use natural gas FT fuels as one of the inputs, but no sequestration. They'll do an update with CTL pathways--funding permitting--next year.


If in one day natural gas peaks, what is the feasibility of replacing the feedstock to biogas?

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