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Thu, Mar 24, 2011

Camelina-Based Biofuel Breaks Sound Barrier

USAF F-22 Raptor Test Flight Latest Aircraft To Successfully Fly On Renewable Fuel Blend

Sustainable Oils said Monday that a jet fuel derived from its camelina powered the successful test flight of a U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor aircraft. The aircraft was powered by a 50/50 fuel blend of conventional petroleum-based JP-8 and biofuel derived from camelina. "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.

According to the Air Force, the flight test “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.”

To date, Sustainable Oils has contracted for more than 500,000 gallons of camelina-based biofuel with the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Army. Fuels derived from camelina have been the most thoroughly tested of all aviation biofuels. They have successfully powered a variety of aircraft, including commercial airlines (Continental, Japan Airlines, KLM) and multiple military aircraft (A-10 Warthog, FA-18 Hornet, and MH-60S Seahawk Helicopter). “Camelina-based jet fuel is ready for liftoff,” said Scott Johnson, President of Sustainable Oils. “As this most recent test demonstrates, it needs no additional research, development or technology. It actually adds to the food chain, and dramatically reduces the carbon footprint of the fuel.”

Although it is a plant, camelina does not compete with crops grown for food. Rather, it grows well in rotation with wheat and on non-irrigated land. Given its high protein content and Omega 3 fatty acids, its “meal” (what is left after oil extraction from the seed) has been approved by the USDA for livestock and poultry feed, thus adding to the food chain.

A Michigan Tech University life cycle analysis (LCA) of camelina jet fuel showed that it reduces carbon emissions by 75 percent compared to petroleum jet fuel.

FMI:  www.susoils.com

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