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Synthetic Alternative to Petroleum Based Fuel To Be Evaluated For Use By The USAF

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: 26 March, 2010  (New Product)
America’s Air Force is planning to test synthetic fuel developed by Accelergy and the EERC using coal and biomass
Accelergy, a provider of high-grade domestically sourced liquid fuels, has begun production of their highly efficient fuel from coal and biomass, to be evaluated by the United States Air Force (USAF) as the industry benchmark for 100 percent synthetic jet fuel. To date, synthetic fuels have required blending with petroleum feedstocks on a 50% basis to be suitable in aviation applications.

In 2009, Accelergy entered a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the USAF for testing fully synthetic fuels that meet or exceed USAF JP-8 military jet fuel standards. Following a mandate by the USAF to use 50 percent of its fuel from cleaner and domestic sources by 2016, Accelergy is the first to provide 100 percent synthetic fuel that can meet the USAF’s stringent JP-8 standards. The USAF currently uses JP-8 fuel in all of its aircraft and has been looking for a commercially viable 100% synthetic alternative to petroleum based fuels.

The fuels will be produced at a pilot facility currently under construction at the Energy & Environmental Research Centre (EERC) at the University Of North Dakota. Production from this facility will commence in the 3rd quarter of this year. Fuel deliveries to the Air Force Research Labs will commence in late 2010. The pilot facility will also provide a valuable tool for evaluating new coal and biomass feedstocks as the technology moves towards commercial deployment.

“The EERC’s mission has always been to create solutions for our country’s energy challenges through technological advancements and strong partnerships with private companies like Accelergy,” said Gerald Groenewold, Director of the EERC. “This development marks a milestone in the production of cleaner, 100 percent synthetic fuel through our combined technologies, sets a standard for the industry to follow, and paves the way for its rapid adoption.”

“Accelergy is the first to provide 100 percent synthetic jet fuel for the USAF with high thermal stability, increased energy density, lower environmental impact and competitive costs,” said Tim Vail, CEO of Accelergy. “With the production of these fuels that utilize carbon as a feedstock, we are one step closer to setting a benchmark for the industry, as well as commercialising our fuels. The facility at EERC allows us to produce meaningful quantities of fuel, confirm our performance estimates and further refine our fuel products. With the test results in hand, the Air Force and defence contractors can then explore the full range of options for employment of advanced synthetic fuels in next-generation aircraft designs.”

Utilizing proprietary micro-catalytic liquefaction technologies and direct biomass conversion technologies, Accelergy’s integrated Coal-Biomass to Liquids (CBTL) process, based in part on technologies developed by Exxon Mobil Research and Engineering Company and the EERC, domestically produces a tunable range of low net-carbon fuels including Jet-A, and military JP-5, JP-8, and JP-9 jet fuels. The CBTL process is unique in its ability to maintain a high overall thermal efficiency while significantly reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with comparable refining methods.
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