Sunday, March 30, 2008

synfuel blend test on B1-B

On December 17, 2007 the first transcontinental flight using synfuel blend (50% derived by natural gas using FT process and 50% conventional JP-8[1]) by a C-17 Globemaster III from McChord AFB, Washington to McGuire AFB, N.J. (tests of the fuel in C-17 engines were completed in October 2007). USAF certified B-52 Stratotankers to use the synfuel blend in August 2007.

On March 19, 2008, a B-1B Lancer from the 9th Bomb Squadron (Dyess Air Force Base, Texas) became the first USAF aircraft to fly at supersonic speed using synfuel blend in a flight over the White Sands Missile Range airspace in south-central New Mexico, but the flight took off from Dyess AFB in Texas.

USAF continues its efforts with evaluating and certifying Synfuel blend to ensure that it is capable of operating in all of its aircraft.

USAF previously has tested synfuel blend in the B-52 Stratofortress, the first aircraft to use the fuel, and the C-17 Globemaster III. The goal by 2011 is to have every aircraft using synthetic fuel blends and by 2016 to produce at least 50% of the fuel domestically.

According to a USAF News Agency piece by Staff Sgt. Matthew Bates (B-1B achieves first supersonic flight using synthetic fuel) synthetic fuel created using the FT process costs an estimated $30 to $50 less per barrel than its petroleum counterpart.

"A lot of people are quick to point to the cost-efficiency of alternative fuel," Major Rhymer said. "But this innovative domestically-produced fuel will also help alleviate our dependence on foreign energy sources."
Alternative fuels can be produced from domestically available hydrocarbon products like natural gas, coal and shale, and then gasified and converted into any number of liquid fuel products.
These fuels are also proven to burn cleaner, reducing combustion-related emissions and particulates in the air -- all without compromising performance.

It's great to be part of an Air Force initiative that is also helping the environment, Captain Fournier said. "Using a fuel that is cheaper and cleaner ... what could be better?"

Remarks and Questions:

Synfuel can be produced domestically BUT who will produce it without subsidies?

How is it possible that synfuel costs $30-$50 less per barrel? I DO NOT believe. They should take a calculator and redo their calculations.

Why USAF concentrates only to the fact that synfuel burns cleaner than conventional JP-8 but at the same time ignores the emissions created by producing FT synthetic fuel?

If USAF really believes what is says (i.e., all aircraft to be able to fly with synfuel by 2011, then why this was not put as a criterion in the KC-X deal?

The U.S. Air Force Advanced Power Technology Office APTO was established by the USAF to lead, manage and coordinate the USAF role in integrating advanced power and alternative-energy technologies into the USAF inventory of: ground vehicles, support equipment, Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources and fuel cell equipment. The goals of APTO are to provide increased capabilities and benefits to the warfighter; support the Air Force's environmental and energy policy requirements and reduce dependency on foreign energy sources by the insertion of advanced power technologies.

See videos:
APTO/Army Assured Fuels Program - Part 1
APTO/Army Assured Fuels Program - Part 2
APTO/Army Assured Fuels Program - Part 3
APTO/Army Assured Fuels Program - Part 4

See also some of my previous posts on synthetic fuel:

Coal Based Synthetic Fuel for USAF Aircraft
Remark on USAF Synthetic Fuel Tests
Fill up the B-52 with Synthetic Fuel

[1] JP-8 military jet fuel is commonly used in tactical vehicles and generators.


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