Published on March 19th, 2011 | by Susan Kraemer


Successful F-22 Flight on 50% Camelina Biofuel as Military Obeys Executive Order to Reduce GHGs

March 19th, 2011 by  

A proposed US military test that we covered two years ago, of a completely novel biofuel made from Camelina by SustainableOils, is a success.

Yesterday at Edwards Air Force Base, an F-22 just flew on a jet fuel blend containing 50% renewable biofuel derived from Camelina, a weed that grows easily on marginal land without water or nitrogen, is affected neither by drought nor cold, and has 80% lower carbon emissions than conventional fuel.

Edwards Air Force Base News is reporting the success of the flight.

“The overall test objective was to evaluate biofuel fuel blend suitability in the F-22 weapon system. Testing consisted of air starts, operability, and performance at different speeds and altitude throughout the flight envelope. The F-22 Raptor performed several maneuvers including a supercruise at 40,000 ft. reaching speeds of 1.5 Mach. Supercruise is supersonic flight without using the engine’s afterburner.

“The F-22 flew on Friday, March 18 and performed flawlessly on the biofuel blend citing no noticeable differences from traditional JP-8,” said Jeff Braun, director of the Alternative Fuels Certification Division, part of the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

The overall flight was a success and another milestone completed for the Alternative Fuels Certification Division in support the Air Force’s 2016 acquisition goal to cost-competitively acquire 50 percent of the domestic aviation fuel requirement via alternative fuel blends in which the component is derived from domestic sources produced in a manner that is ‘greener’ than fuels produced from conventional petroleum.”

The advantages to Camelina were that if it could work, blended with conventional jet fuel, it would be relatively easy to scale up to demand, and it would not compete with food crops because it can be grown easily throughout the Northern states that have such poor soil and climate that they will never be “farm states”.

Because it is more cold-resistant than the average biodiesel feedstock, it is ideal for jet fuels that must perform in the cold, high above the warm blanketing warmth of lower altitudes.

The military, like all Federal Agencies has been under Executive Order by the Obama administration to cut greenhouse gases 30% by 2020. It’s yielding results.

Susan Kraemer@Twitter

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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.

  • Nate Green

    Anybody else think it was dumb to use experimental fuel on F-22. Those are the most expensive planes we have. We should try out the experimental fuels on 30 year old fighter jets.

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  • Bob Wallace

    I believe that camelina can also be grown in between crops of wheat when conditions are not right for wheat production. Doing so takes no land out of food production and provides an additional income source for farmers.

    • That’s encouraging. We can’t move fast enough away from the food crops/biofuels problem, especially now that climate changes in the middle east are reducing essential grain crops so much.

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