Defense Department Contracts for 315,000 Gallons of Fischer-Tropsch Jet Fuel; Air Force Targeting 50% Synfuel Use (Domestic) by 2016
The US Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) has awarded a contract for 315,000 gallons of synthetic jet fuel to Shell Oil Products. The estimated contract value is approximately $1.1 million and the period of delivery is 1-31 August 2007.
This purchase supports the US Air Force Synthetic Fuel Initiative, which is evaluating Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) synthetic jet fuels for use in military aircraft. The Air Force began its test program in September 2006 when it flew a B-52 with two of eight engines using a gas-to-liquids F-T fuel supplied by Syntroleum, mixed at a 50/50 ratio with military jet fuel. (Earlier post.)
Additional testing included materials compatibility testing, which determines if any aircraft parts are affected by the use of F-T fuel, cold weather testing, additional engine testing and operation of ground equipment with F-T fuel. After two additional flights with two engines burning the synthetic fuel blend, a final B-52 flight with all eight engines was successfully conducted with all operational flight parameters and metrics being met.
The acquisition of these 315,000 gallons of synthetic fuel this year is one more step toward meeting the Air Force goal of testing and certifying the entire fleet for use of the fuel by 2010. Additional acquisitions of synthetic fuel will be made for testing and certification over the next three years. The ultimate goal of the Air Force is to acquire 50 percent of its [Continental United States] fuel by 2016 from domestic sources producing a synthetic fuel-blend and using carbon capture and sequestration technology.—William C. Anderson, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment & Logistics
As part of the approval process for the use of F-T synthetic fuels in aircraft, DESC, the US Air Force and the other military departments participate on a commercial working group sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration, Air Transport Association, Aerospace Industry Association and Airports Council International.
Industry participants include airlines, airframe and engine manufacturers and fuel suppliers. This group has agreed to look at the use of F-T fuels for commercial airlines based on the study results of the DoD. The intention is to have several F-T fuels tested at different blend ratios with conventional jet fuel, and based upon the results in military equipment the airline industry could approve its use for commercial aircraft.
The Importance of Coal-to-Liquids Technology to Military and Civil Aviation (Congressional briefing)