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DOE and Air Force issue RFI on Mil-Spec jet fuel production using coal-to-liquid technologies

The US Department of Energy (DOE) in partnership with the US Air Force has issued a request for information (RFI)—DE-FOA-0000981—on research & development aimed at greenhouse gas emissions reductions and cost competitiveness of Mil-Spec jet fuel production using coal-to-liquid (CTL) fuel technologies.

The DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), on behalf of the US Air Force, intends to issue a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) in 2013 that would solicit for the most promising research and development projects on advanced concepts for and/or unit operations within a CTL fuels plant; the areas of interest may be developed based in part on the responses to the RFI. The DOE and US Air Force anticipate the need for projects of no less than $3 million and that would have duration of not more than 3 years.

Background. The DOD, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 (Public Law 113-6) provided $20.0 million in Air Force Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) funding for research that would reduce emissions and lower the costs of CTL fuel production technologies to enable CTL fuel to be a competitive alternative energy resource.

The Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy, is directed to report to Congress on the feasibility of potential technologies that could enable coal-based liquid fuels to meet the requirements of the DOD consistent with the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 Section 526 (EISA 2007 §526, Public Law 110-140).

Section 526 specifies that the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production and combustion of an alternative fuel supplied under contract to a Federal agency must, on an ongoing basis, be less than or equal to such emissions from the equivalent conventional fuel produced from conventional petroleum sources.

That report is to also include a proposal for joint research on those technologies that are most promising for the capture of carbon, reduction of GHG emissions, and other approaches that could enable coal-based liquid fuels to be procured under the EISA 2007 §526.

Information Request. The DOE, on behalf of the Air Force, is seeking information and ideas to help in establishing content in a FOA that would solicit for the most promising research and development projects on advanced concepts for and/or unit operations within a CTL fuels plant. The overall CTL plant would be expected to meet the following objectives/goals:

  • Produce products that meet military specifications for jet fuel (JP-8 MIL-DTL-83133);

  • Make significant progress toward compliance with the EISA 2007 §526 lifecycle GHG emission requirements; and,

  • Make significant progress toward being cost competitive with conventional petroleum-based jet fuel.

Specifically, information and ideas are sought for the best short-term (5-15 years out) technology solutions and longer-term (20-30 years out) technological paths forward leading to the commercial production of coal-derived mil-spec jet fuel, while meeting the above objectives.

Specific Areas of Interest for this FOA have not yet been developed; however, the DOE emphasized that direct, indirect, and other novel transformational coal and coal/biomass conversion technologies and approaches for the conversion of domestic coal resources to jet fuels are of interest.

Responses should provide a technical description/discussion of the technology/concept envisioned along with a justification as to why and how the suggested approach will result in a jet fuel product that is competitive (cost and environmentally) with conventional crude oil derived products.

Responses to this RFI are due on 30 September 2013.

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