The US Navy has announced that it will test biofuels in the F/A-18 Super Hornet by the end of 2010.
The navy has opened a request for proposal (RFP) for JP-5 jet fuel made from second-generation biofuel feedstocks such as algae, jatropha and camelina.
The United States Air Force has set a goal of producing 50% of its fuels by alternative means by 2016 to create a mobile, independent source of fuels for military applications but also to support the overall government goals of reducing fuel usage and associated greenhouse gas emissions.
The initial RFP is for 40,000gal of fuel to be used initially on the Super Hornet's F414 engine in ground tests in December or January, followed by flight tests. The fuel contract is expected to be announced this month.
Testing could see the lab consume around 50,000l of biofuel, with ground tests consuming a further 62,000l and the flight tests using 70,000l.
The air force requires a drop-in replacement fuel, that has a higher energy density than ethanol as well as superior performance characteristics.
Although most research in cellulosic conversion of biomass has focused on ethanol, the military is seeking drop-in fuels that have higher energy density than ethanol as well as superior performance characteristics
The Boeing Super Hornet entered service with US Navy in 1999 and is a carrier-based multirole fighter aircraft, equipped with air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface weapons.