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05 Oct 09. Fisher-Tropsch (F-T) fuel by 2011, the U.S. Air Force has launched a similar certification effort for hydrotreated renewable jet (HRJ) biofuels and is now becoming interested in fuels from cellulosic feedstocks. “We have a certification schedule for a 50:50 blend of HRJ [and conventional petroleum-based JP-8],” says Bill Harrison, deputy director of the Air Force’s new Energy Office. “We’ve learned a lot
through the F-T effort and are hoping for a rather rapid and smooth certification.” The Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), which buys fuel for the services, has awarded contracts to supply almost 600,000 gallons of renewable jet fuel for testing and certification. “That’s an unprecedented amount,” says Kim Huntley, DESC commander. Sustainable Oils, Solazyme and Honeywell company UOP will supply 400,000 gallons of fuel to the Air Force and 190,000 to the Navy. Sustainable Oils will use camelina as the feedstock, Solazyme will use algae and UOP will use animal fat, or tallow, supplied by food producer Cargill. All three will use UOP’s processing technology.Harrison says an aviation biofuels summit held in early September brought in the U.S. agricultural sector to provide guidance on the best feedstock, with a report due out in December. Near term, seed crops like camelina are the most likely sources, he says, while in the mid- to far term cellulosic feedstocks like corn stover look promising, “We are really interested in cellulosic, and there is a lot happening,” Harrison says, pointing to the availability of about 1 billion tons of feedstock a year. General Electric is testing jet fuel produced by Amyris Biotechnologies through the direct fermentation of cane sugar to hydrocarbons using engineered yeast. The company has biodiesel pilot plants in Brazil and California and plans to commercialize its jet fuel as early as 2012. Under congressional mandate to buy greener fuels, the Air Force is putting the finishing touches to a greenhouse-gas life-cycle analysis model that will allow it to calculate the “well-to-wake” carbon footprint for each batch of fuel. Harrison says benchmark studies are under way for coal-and-biomass-to-liquid F-T jet fuel and soy to HRJ. Despite the growing interest in biofuels, DESC has several pilot programs under way to produce synthetic JP-8 from coal and natural gas using the F-T process, Huntley says. The Energy Department, meanwhile, has a $700 million program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-to-liquid F-T fuel production though carbon capture and sequestration and the addition of biomass, aiming for demonstration by 2012 and deployment by 2020. (Source: Aviation Week)