Renewable energy for military use received a big push last week when UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, announced it was accelerating its research and development on converting vegetable and algal oils to military jet fuels.
Backed by an investment of $6.7 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), UOP will develop and commercialize a process to produce 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. "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."
UOP will work with Honeywell Aerospace, Cargill, Arizona State University, Sandia National Laboratories and Southwest Research Institute on the project, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2008.
Fuel produced by the new process is expected to achieve 90% energy efficiency for maximum conversion of feed to fuel, reduced waste and reduced production costs. UOP expects the technology will be viable for future use in the production of jet fuel for commercial jets.
Last year UOP developed, along with European energy company Eni, a process to convert vegetable oils and waste into a high-cetane green diesel fuel with low emissions and high efficiency. The process, called UOP/Eni Ecofining, uses existing refinery infrastructure and technology. Earlier this month, UOP announced Eni will build the first Ecofining facility in Italy.