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SAIC Awarded $25 Million Contract by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

SAIC : 27 January, 2009  (New Product)
Company to Develop Affordable Alternative to Petroleum-Derived Jet Fuel (JP-8) from Agricultural and Aquacultural Feedstock
Science Applications International Corporation has been awarded a prime contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to help develop an affordable alternative to petroleum-derived jet fuel (JP-8) from agricultural and aquacultural feedstock materials. The contract has a total value of up to $25 million if all phases of the development program are completed. Work will be performed primarily in Georgia, Florida, Hawaii and Texas.

DARPA's BioFuels program explores energy alternatives and fuel efficiency efforts in a bid to reduce the military's reliance on traditional fuel. For an alternative to be viable, the fuel must be produced at a cost that is economically competitive with current supply costs. Under this contract, SAIC will lead a team of industrial and academic organizations to develop an integrated process for producing JP-8 from algae at a cost target of $3/gal. SAIC and its team will develop technologies and processes to help achieve DARPA's goal including integrating algae strain selection, water and nutrient sourcing, farming, harvesting, separation, triglyceride purification, algal oil processing, and economic modeling and analysis.

SAIC's work on the contract will happen in two phases. Phase 1 will concentrate on technology selection and development, pilot plant site analyses, system integration, and economic modeling and analysis, culminating in a lab-scale production capability, preliminary production facility design, and the delivery of samples for testing. SAIC will also develop detailed commercialization and qualification plans showing a path to commercial and military systems viability. Phase 2 will focus on the final design, integration and operation of a pre-pilot scale production facility.

'The Defense Department has been directed to explore a wide range of energy alternatives and fuel efficiency efforts to reduce the military's reliance on foreign oil to power its aircraft, ground vehicles and non-nuclear ships,' said John Gully, SAIC senior vice president and business unit general manager. 'We are pleased to work with DARPA and our teammates on this exciting program to develop an alternative to meet the military's need for a reliable domestic source of JP-8.'
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