News>Conaton speaks on AF biomass fuel use at open house
Tech. Sgt. Tony Bowman fuels an Air Force Thunderbird F-16 Fighting Falcon with a blend of 50 percent camelina-based biofuel and 50 percent regular Jet Propellant 8 fuel. Sergeant Bowman is a lab technician from the D.C. Air National Guard’s 113th Logistics Readiness Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Craig Clapper)
by Staff Sgt. Misty D. Slater
11th Wing Public Affairs
5/23/2011 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AFNS) -- Undersecretary of the Air Force Erin Conaton spoke to media about the milestone of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flight demonstration team's first use of a biomass fuel blend in two of their jets here during the 2011 Joint Service Open House May 20.
The Air Force has a vested interest in the use of biofuels since it's the largest user of energy in the Department of Defense, the undersecretary said.
According to the USAF Alternative Aviation Fuel Initiative, the military is the largest single consumer of petroleum products in the United States and the Air Force alone uses more than two billion gallons of aviation fuel each year.
Right now, biomass fuel is about 10 times the cost of JP-8, the current military aviation jet fuel in use, Ms. Conaton said.
In these days of constricted budgets, the fuel the Air Force will buy needs to be cost competitive. When the biofuel industry is able to provide the quantity of fuel the Air Force requires at a good price, "we will be ready to buy from them," the under secretary said.
Major Aaron Jelinek, the Thunderbirds' lead solo pilot, said that he noticed no difference in flight between the biomass fuel blend and straight JP-8.
The biomass fuel blend consists of a 50/50 blend of JP-8 and a hydrotreated renewable jet, or HRJ, biomass-derived fuel. The biomass fuels are derived from three different feedstocks: camelina, which is a plant seed oil; beef tallow, which is animal fat; and various waste oils and greases.
In addition to the Thunderbird's flight, the Air Force has demonstrated operations using the HRJ fuel blend in several other aircraft, to include the A-10 Thunderbolt II, the F-15 Eagle, the C-17 Globemaster III and the F-22 Raptor. Air Force engineers are on track for the entire fleet to be certified using the HRJ fuel blend by late 2012.
5/27/2011 11:35:09 AM ET Biomass fuel is about 10 times the cost of JP-8, while an abundant source of jet fuel is to be found in Alberta's oil sands which are the world's second largest oil deposit. Their production is constrained by cost, water, and carbon emissions, which are addressed by the Nuclear Assisted Hydrocarbon Production Method. A recent CNN Money article declared nuclear waste America's 'biggest security threat'. Aside from the NIMBY factor, the major problems associated with spent nuclear fuel are the decay heat it generates that can break down the crystalline structure of rock in which it is placed and induces hydrothermal convection that can transport hazardous material back to the biosphere, high-level radiation which is lethal and disassociates water into its ionic components that can detrimentally react with spent fuel bundles and their containers, and the cost danger and the proliferation potential of reprocessing. The first three are assets with respect to the production of ... (rest o