UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, recently announced that it will accelerate research and development on renewable energy technology to convert vegetable and algal oils to military jet fuels. The project, which is funded by $6.7 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), will focus on the development and commercialization of a process to manufacture Jet Propellant 8 (JP-8) used by U.S. and NATO militaries.

“The focus of our renewable energy efforts has been to develop technologies that align with today’s standard refinery practices, but allow a broader range of feedstock options,” said Jennifer Holmgren, director of UOP’s Renewable Energy and Chemicals business unit.

military jets

Military jets, such as this one, will soon operate on renewable fuel made from vegetable and algal oils. Credit: U.S. Air Force

UOP will work with Honeywell Aerospace, Cargill, Arizona State University, Sandia National Laboratories, and Southwest Research Institute on the project, with completion expected in late 2008. Stringent military specifications will have to be met during the testing phase of the fuel produced by this new project. The fuel is anticipated to be 90 percent energy efficient, and UOP expects the technology will be viable for future use in the production of jet fuel for commercial jets.

According to a company statement, “We are confident that we have assembled a strong team of experts that will be successful in proving the viability of biofeedstock technologies for JP-8 and other jet fuels, while offering the U.S. military another option for sustainable liquid fuels critical to their programs.”

Approximately 4.5 billion gallons of JP-8 fuel are used by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and NATO every year. JP-8 is a kerosene-based, high-performance fuel that, when compared to other fuels, is less flammable and less hazardous allowing for better safety and combat survivability.

UOP LLC, headquartered in Des Plaines, Illinois, is recognized as a leader in the development of process technology for the refining and petrochemical industries. The company formed its Renewable Energy & Chemicals business unit in 2006 to commercialize solutions for production of renewable biofuel energy. For more information, please visit the UOP Web site.

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