The U.S. Navy is to test a production of 100% renewable drop-in fuels on its ships and aircrafts, according to the fuels’ developers.
Applied Research Associates (ARA) and Blue Sun Advanced Fuels are performing on a Defense Logistics Agency Energy contract that was awarded for production of 100% drop-in renewable jet and diesel fuel utilizing ARA’s and Chevron Lummus Global’s (CLG) Biofuels ISOCONVERSION technology.
The first contract fuel deliveries were made in February of 2015; the remainder of the fuel will be delivered in 2015 and 2016 to support certification and testing of renewable fuels for U.S. Navy ships and aircraft.
The contract calls for production of CHCD-76 and CHCJ-5. CHCD-76 is a catalytic hydrothermal conversion diesel fuel, developed as a variation of the commercial ReadiDiesel with the intention to meet the Navy’s F-76 Naval Marine Distillate Fuel spec and qualification protocols. CHCJ-5 denotes a catalytic hydrothermal conversion jet fuel, developed as a variation of the commercial ReadiJet with the intention to meet the Navy’s JP-5 jet fuel spec and qualification protocols.
Blue Sun Advanced Fuels, a licensee of the Biofuels ISOCONVERSION technology, converts the renewable oils to crude oil in their 100 barrel-per-day (4,200 gallon-per-day) demonstration-scale Biofuels ISOCONVERSION facility in St. Joseph, Missouri.
The U.S. Navy will test both the CHCD-76 and CHCJ-5 neat, i.e. without blending with conventional petroleum fuel, with the goal of MILSPEC certifications of both the diesel and jet fuels as 100% drop-in fuels in the 2017 timeframe. Potential benefits of these drop-in fuels include:
- 100% renewable and sustainable
- Fully compatible with petroleum diesel and jet engines and can be used neat or blended in any proportion – no requirement for blending with petroleum fuels
- Requires no changes to fuel storage and transportation infrastructure– fuels can be intermixed during distribution and storage without concerns relative to quality or specifications
- Can be stored over long periods of time with no deterioration in quality
Demonstrating the feedstock agnostic nature of the technology, ARA and Blue Sun will utilize several different fat, oil, and grease feedstocks in the production of the certification fuels, including Resonance, an industrial oil feedstock from Agrisoma Biosciences.
In October 2012, ReadiJet, made from Agrisoma’s Resonance crop, was flown in a Canadian National Research Council Falcon 20 jet, becoming the world’s first ever 100% drop-in jet fuel flight with a fuel that meets petroleum specs without blending.
“We are a step closer to our goal of commercial scale production of 100% drop-in diesel and jet fuel from industrial and waste oils at prices competitive with their petroleum counterparts,” said Chuck Red, Vice President of Fuels Development at ARA.
The Biofuels ISOCONVERSION process seamlessly converts renewable feedstocks such as plant oils, tallow, algae oil, and waste vegetable oil into 100% drop-in diesel and jet fuels, which meet petroleum specs without blending, as well as naphtha that can be used as a gasoline blend stock and consists of:
- ARA’s Catalytic Hydrothermolysis (CH) process, which mimics nature’s way of converting biomass to petroleum crude. While nature’s processes take millennia to produce petroleum crude, it takes less than a minute for the ARA CH process to turn plant oils into a high quality crude oil. A U.S. patent was granted to ARA in 2010 on the CH process.
- CLG’s ISOCONVERSION™ Catalysts which efficiently upgrade the crude oil produced by the CH reactor into on-specification, finished fuels. The final products are all fungible and nearly identical to petroleum-derived fuels. ReadiJet and ReadiDiesel can be tailored to meet all commercial and military jet fuel specifications.
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