US Air Force takes biofuels on board

August and September saw a rush of renewable fuels projects approaching the US Navy. Now The United States Air Force is looking at a greener future.

The Air Force will undertake research related to alternative fuels, in a shift to move away from heavy consumption of fossil fuels.

The $2.5 million (€1.67 million) Assured Aerospace Fuels Research Facility, located at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, is expected to be constructed by the end of Q3 2010.

It is expected to develop around 15 to 25 gallons a day of research jet fuel composed of biofuels, coal and other gas alternatives with the help of private companies and university researchers.

"The Air Force Research Laboratory has been a centre of excellence for fuel research, and this facility allows us to expand that into the alternative fuel arena,’ AF Research Laboratory engineer Tim Edwards comments.

Any fuel breakthroughs made through the USAF facility could be shared with the private sector, helping airlines and other industries save money.

All branches of the US military continue research into alternative fuels, as the government spends millions to fuel aircraft, ships, Humvees, and other necessary military vehicles.

The US Army is currently working on a hybrid Humvee and further work is expected to take place in the future.

In September the US Department of Defence signed a contract with US-based biofuel producer Solazyme to research, develop and demonstrate commercial scale production of biofuel using algae as feedstock to meet the US Navy’s rigorous specifications for military tactical platforms.

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