Different Fuels, Same Purpose

The Air Force intends to evaluate a new alcohol-to-jet biofuel produced from wood waste, grasses, or corn stalks, said Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Philip Breedlove Wednesday during the Army & Air Force Energy Forum in Arlington, Va. This new biofuel has a lot of potential because, unlike other biofuel mixtures, the contents of the alcohol-to-jet fuel blend are more readily available, according to USAF officials. More than 99 percent of the Air Force’s fleet is currently certified to conduct unrestricted operations on a 50-50 blend of synthetic paraffinic kerosene and traditional jet fuel. Breedlove said the entire fleet should be certified to run on this mixture by year’s end. “We’ve already flown the first transcontinental flight, the first supersonic flight, and the first aerial refueling flight,” with this blend, he said. “By 2016, our goal is to fill 50 percent of our domestic fuel needs with this type of fuel setting.” The Air Force also has certified its C-17 and F-16 fleets to operate on a blend of biofuel known as a hydrotreated renewable jet, or HRJ, fuel mixture. The service expects to clear the entire fleet to run on that blend by 2013, he said.