B-52 refueling in flight. Photo: Paul Kuxika Blas via flickr
Science Applications International Corp. has announced that it has been awarded a $25 million contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, probably better known to readers as DARPA, to help develop an algae-based jet fuel for use by the US military. The target price for this alternative to petroleum-based jet fuel: $3/gallon. This is how SAIC will carry out the research:The work SAIC has been contracted to do by DARPA will be done at facilities in Georgia, Texas, Hawaii and Florida, in two phases:
Phase 1 will concentrate on technology selection and development, pilot plant site analyses, system integration, and economic modeling and analysis, culminating in a lab-scale production capability, preliminary production facility design, and the delivery of samples for testing. SAIC will also develop detailed commercialization and qualification plans showing a path to commercial and military systems viability.
Phase 2 will focus on the final design, integration and operation of a pre-pilot scale production facility.
Air Force Wants All Planes to Be Alternative Fuel Ready by 2011
According to reports in Environmental Leader, by 2011 the US Air Force wants it entire aircraft fleet to have the ability to fly on a 50-50 blend of synthetic and petroleum-based fuels. An Air Force spokesman quoted in that article, the Air Force can get itself "very close to a zero carbon footprint. Not today. Not tomorrow. But maybe a decade or so down the road."
More: SAIC (press release)
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New Algae-Based Aviation Fuel Passes Key ASTM Tests For Jet Fuel