US Defense awards synthetic jet fuel contract

Following the successful testing of synthetic jet fuel in a B-52, the US Defense Energy Support Center awarded a contract to Shell Oil Products of Houston, Texas for 315,000 gallons of synthetic jet fuel on 6 Jun 07. The fuel is to be delivered to several Air Force locations and a NASA facility in the United States. The estimated contract value is approximately USD1.1 million and the fuel is to be delivered in 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 F-T process converts carbon monoxide and hydrogen into a liquid hydrocarbon fuel that can be substituted for conventional petroleum based fuels. These synthetic fuels can be produced from an assortment of feedstock that includes biomass, coal and natural gas.

B-52 cold weather testing of synthetic jet fuel

The Air Force began its test program in September 2006 when it flew a B-52 with two of eight engines using an F-T fuel mixed at a 50/50 ratio with military jet fuel. 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.

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