Alternative Fuels Update

The Air Force has begun evaluating a new type of alternative fuel for its aircraft fleet known as alcohol-to-jet, said Terry Yonkers, the service’s assistant secretary for installations, environment, and logistics. ATJ fuel is derived from cellulosic materials—like wood waste, grasses, or corn stalks—Yonkers told the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness panel on March 29. Depending on funding availability, the Air Force anticipates certifying this fuel type for the fleet as part of a 50-50 blend with JP-8 fuel “by 2014,” he said. ATJ is the third kind of alternative fuel that the Air Force intends blend with JP-8 to help reduce US dependency on foreign sources of energy. The service has set the goal of meeting half of its domestic jet fuel needs via alternative fuel blends by 2016. Service officials already have certified a blend of JP-8 and synthetic paraffinic kerosene for the entire fleet and expect to clear a blend of JP-8 and a biofuel known as hydro-treated renewable jet fuel for the fleet by the end of 2012, said Yonkers. (Yonkers’ prepared testimony)