Monday, November 24, 2008

Small Co Pushes Biofuel Flight Envelope

Tiny, Florida-based Green Flight International is a working a fuel problem the military in general, and the Air Force in particular, hope they can solve. With scrutiny and approval from the FAA and some support from Lockheed, Green Flight has just flown a 1960's-era single-engine Czechoslovakian training jet coast-to-coast on a nutritious 50-50 blend of JP8, soy and animal fat.

While the Air Force is currently certifying its inventory to fly on a mixture of JP8 and fuel derived from coal, the benefits of that process seem limited at present. Certainly, fuel from coal is a big energy security gain (the US owns a heck of a lot of coal). But it comes at high economic and environmental costs. So the next generation synthetic fuels in the Air Force's road map include biofuels derived from multiple potential sources. 

Green Flights' demonstrated ability to fly its jet on various types of fuels ... and its upcoming flight test of an algae-based biodiesel, is identifying some options the Air Force might do well to explore in greater depth. More details are in this Scientific American article from last year.

Photo: Green Flight International

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