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DARPA awards Logos Technologies $17.5M for Phase II BioJET program; renewable jet fuel from biomass via a lipid fermentation pathway

Possible pathways for microbial lipids-based renewable aviation fuels. Source: Dr. Shulin Chen, University of Washington. Click to enlarge.

Logos Technologies, Inc. has been awarded a $17.5-million Phase II award for the BioJET Program from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to produce fully compatible jet fuel from cellulosic biomass.

This contract is to demonstrate an end-to-end Lipid Fermentation Process (LFP) at scale for the commercially viable production, from cellulosic biomass, of Hydrotreated Renewable Jet (HRJ) spec jet fuel—a near term surrogate for JP-8 that can be readily commercialized.

HRJ is produced from renewable oils (lipids) by methods common in petroleum refining. Fatty acids and triglycerides are hydrotreated to remove oxygen, and the resulting paraffinic hydrocarbons are processed to yield a mixture of straight-chain, branched-chain, and cyclic paraffinic hydrocarbons with collective properties that are similar to those of conventional jet fuel.

Oleaginous yeast can produce lipids from the sugars resulting from the pretreatment and hydrolysis of biomass; certain fungi can also produce lipids, either via solid-state fermentation of biomass or from the biomass hydrolyzate.

This primary program effort is to consist of optimized process development and engineering along with regionally specific economic modeling to produce fuel, demonstrate process energy efficiency and support commercialization.

In addition to the LFP pathway, Logos will demonstrate the Mixed Alcohol Oligomerization process (MAOP) pathway at a reduced scale. This effort will also include regionally specific economic modeling and optimized process and engineering to achieve energy efficiency milestone of Phase 2 along with a commercialization plan that addresses the anticipated additional time required for jet fuel qualification.

This phase of the BioJET program requires the delivery of larger quantities of jet fuel with a projected cost of production of JP-8 at commercial scale implementation (50Mgal/yr) at less than $3.00 per gallon.

With this process, Logos scientists and their teammates estimate, the cellulose waste streams from agriculture, industries, and cities could supply a significant amount of US transportation fuel needs with a fossil-fuel substitute that does not adversely affect food prices, and offers superior performance and engine compatibility when compared to current biofuels.

Logos’ effort in Phase-1 was worth $19.6 million. The Phase II project team of 10 organizations from 5 states—including universities and large and small businesses—will be managed by the Logos Technologies Energy Systems Division at its process-integration laboratory in northern Virginia.




I think the end goal for the military is the ability to produce fuel at bases, especially forward operating bases, without having to constantly send in tanker truck convoys that get attacked and blown up. It's more about saving lives than saving the environment - but it's definitely a bonus to use the military research as a vehicle for other research.


Definitely, the army will grow thousands of acres of switchgrass in Afghanistan and build BTL plants for their airplanes.
I agree the armee would like to produce fuels locally, but then it would more likely be synthetic fuels out of nuclear hydrogen and seawater-derived CO2.
However, the most important military advance towards almost all our potential enemies would be to make fossil fuels worthless. In this vue, any kind of market-introduction of synthetic fuel is a military victory.


I think what the military wants is Mr. Fusion. Just throw all your trash into the plasma gasifier and make fuel.

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