US Air Force success – first flight using 50/50 mix of biofuel and jet fuel

Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II using a mix of biofuel and jet fuel
On Thursday, the US Air Force took a big step towards hitting their goal of a 50% switchover to alternative fuels by conducting their first test flight of an A-10C Thunderbolt using a 50/50 blend of Hydrotreated Renewable Jet (HRJ) biofuel and JP-8 (regular jet fuel).  While data from the flight is still being analyzed, the pilot, Maj Chris Seager, said that the flight, which took of f from Elgin Air Force Base in Florida, “felt great, no problems whatsoever.”

The new HRJ fuel  comes from the carmelina plant, which is a weed-like plant that isn’t used for food and requires little water.   According to Alternative Fuels Certification officials, both the refining process and the emissions from HRJ biofuel are cleaner than those of conventional jet fuel.

The Air Force is trying  to switch half of its US jet fuel requirements over to alternative fuel by 2016.  They’re also trying to get all of their planes certified to fly using alternative fuels by 2012.   As you probably guessed, the Air Force is the largest user of jet fuel in the Department of Defense – using 2.4 billion gallons per year.    Next up this year are more tests with other aircraft – the F-15 Eagle, F-22 Raptor, and the C-17 Globemaster III.

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