Actually, it's going to take a lot more than luck to win this one. So far, the very best coal to fuel approaches have proven far too expensive and far too dirty from a CO2 perspective to inspire DOD to go into large scale production. But the prize is great, as the BAA description notes, the US has proven coal reserves enough to provide liquid fuel to power DOD for thousands of years.
DARPA's Stratetic Technology Office (STO) has a new BAA opportunity on the street called "Coal To Liquids" with an ID number of DARPA-BAA-08-58. Posted 4 Sep 08, the dates competitors need to keep in mind are:
- Proposal Abstracts are due by 4:00 pm ET, September 24, 2008 (just elapsed, though I'm sure some leniency will be shown to truly killer, if somewhat tardy, abstracts)
- Initial Full Proposals are due by 4:00 pm ET, November 12, 2008
- BAA closing date is one year from date of publication
All you've got to do, besides delivering timely proposal documents with all the i's dotted and t's crossed, is describe a new process DOD can use to produce JP-8 grade jet fuel at costs much lower than today's approaches, and that don't produce nearly as much CO2. If you have an idea for how to do this, don't be shy, the clock is ticking in more ways than one.