Sustainable Oils announced today that hydrotreated renewable jet fuel (HRJ) made from its camelina will power two Air Force F-16 aircraft as part of a Thunderbirds demonstration flight today at the Joint Services Open House. It is the first time renewable fuels have ever been used as part of a Department of Defense Aerial Team show. The camelina was grown and harvested in Montana, and refined into renewable jet fuel using technology from UOP, a Honeywell company.
"Today's flights mark yet another successful milestone in the commercialization of camelina-based aviation fuel," said Tom Todaro, CEO of Sustainable Oils. "In test after test, camelina-based biofuel continues to perform the same as, or better than, its petroleum counterparts. We, and our growing partners across the country, will continue to support the military's efforts to develop new, sustainable and domestic sources of jet fuel."
According to the Air Force, it has tested and certified biofuel as a 50-percent blend with regular jet fuel in the A-10 Thunderbolt II, the F-15 Eagle, the C-17 Globemaster III, and the F-22 Raptor to date. Air Force officials have stated that fleetwide certification is on track for completion in 2013. Sustainable Oils has provided nearly 500,000 gallons of camelina-based HRJ to multiple branches of the US military for its certification programs, making it the most heavily tested alternative fuel feedstock.
Camelina is the most readily available renewable fuel feedstock that meets the Air Force's criteria given that it does not compete with food crops, has been proven to reduce carbon emissions by more than 70 percent, has naturally high oil content, and requires less fertilizer and herbicides. It is an excellent rotation crop with wheat, and it can also grow on marginal land.