The US Navy’s EA-18G Green Growler aircraft has flight tested 100% advanced biofuel at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 project officer and test pilot lieutenant commander Bradley Fairfax claimed the transparent biofuel resembled petroleum JP-5 used in the aircraft.

Fairfax said: "What we have seen is that the 100% bio-JP-5 appears to be basically transparent. It looks just like petroleum JP-5 in the airplane.”

"The 100% bio-JP-5 appears to be basically transparent."

The test flights were conducted using the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division's (NAWCAD) real-time telemetry processing system (RTPS) at the Atlantic Test Ranges.

US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said: "Having our platforms certified to operate on 100% alternative fuels gives us flexibility and, in the end, gives us both a strategic and combat advantage.

"It gives us options; options which are important now and will remain important in the future."

The fuel programme supports the US Navy’s goal to increase the incorporation of alternative fuels by 2020.

The catalytic hydrothermal conversion-to-jet (CHCJ) process 100% alternative fuel is produced by Applied Research Associates (ARA) and Chevron Lummus Global.

ARA uses feedstocks such as Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA) 50% advanced biofuel blend, which was earlier approved by the US Navy.

It then undergoes a conversion process to produce fully synthetic fuel that does not require blending.

Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) energy and fuels lead Rick Kamin said a blend will require the mixing of biofuel with a petroleum-based JP-5 to produce an on-specification product, which takes more time and additional facilities.

Since the fuel programme was launched in 2009, the fuels team has assessed five alternative sources for JP-5 and four F-76 sources.

The team is partnering with commercial organisations, namely the AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR TESTING AND MATERIALS (ASTM) and the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI).

Image: EA-18G Growler tests 100% alternative biofuel. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by Adam Skoczylas/Released.