Camelina-based Biofuel Breaks Sound Barrier on U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Test Flight

BOZEMAN, Mont., 22 March 2011. Jet fuel from Sustainable Oils, a producer of renewable, low-carbon, and domestically made fuels, powered the test flight of a U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor aircraft. The aircraft was powered by a 50/50 fuel blend of conventional petroleum-based JP-8 and biofuel derived from camelina.

Mar 22nd, 2011
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BOZEMAN, Mont., 22 March 2011. Jet fuel from Sustainable Oils, a producer of renewable, low-carbon, and domestically made fuels, powered the test flight of a U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor aircraft. The aircraft was powered by a 50/50 fuel blend of conventional petroleum-based JP-8 and biofuel derived from camelina. "The F-22 flew on Friday, March 18, and performed flawlessly on the biofuel blend citing no noticeable differences from traditional JP-8," says Jeff Braun, director of the Alternative Fuels Certification Division, part of the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. According to the Air Force, the flight test “consisted of air starts, operability, and performance at different speeds and altitude throughout the flight envelope. The F-22 Raptor performed several maneuvers, including a supercruise at 40,000 feet reaching speeds of 1.5 Mach. Supercruise is supersonic flight without using the engine's afterburner.” To date, Sustainable Oils has contracts for more than 500,000 gallons of camelina-based biofuel with the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Army. Fuels derived from camelina have been the most thoroughly tested of all aviation biofuels, according to a company representative. These fuels have powered a variety of aircraft, including commercial airplanes (Continental, Japan Airlines, KLM) and military aircraft (A-10 Warthog, FA-18 Hornet, and MH-60S Seahawk Helicopter). Although it is a plant, camelina does not compete with crops grown for food; rather, it grows well in rotation with wheat and on non-irrigated land. Given its high protein content and Omega 3 fatty acids, its “meal” (what is left after oil extraction from the seed) has been approved by the USDA for livestock and poultry feed, adding to the food chain. “Camelina-based jet fuel is ready for liftoff,” says Scott Johnson, president of Sustainable Oils. “As this most recent test demonstrates, it needs no additional research, development, or technology. It actually adds to the food chain, and dramatically reduces the carbon footprint of the fuel.” A Michigan Tech University life cycle analysis (LCA) of camelina jet fuel showed that it reduces carbon emissions by 75 percent compared to petroleum jet fuel.
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