August 21, 2009 weblog
U.S. Navy Plans to Test Biofuels for Super Hornet
(PhysOrg.com) -- The U.S. Navy is getting ready to run flight tests using an assortment of biofuels. The tests will be run using an F/A-18 Super Hornet. The tests are scheduled to begin taking place at Patuxent River, Md. by spring or summer 2010. The idea is to create a drop-in system so that those in the field won't know the difference.
The biofuels being tested are camelina, jatropha and algae. Navy.mil reports on the process expected to be used:
For the upcoming static and flight tests, the biofuels will be mixed in a 50-50 blend with conventional petroleum-derived jet fuel to provide the necessary specification properties. Biofuels are not as dense as conventional jet fuel, have less lubricating ability and contain no aromatic compounds, a group of chemical compounds able to penetrate the rubberlike materials that make up gaskets and seals.
The Navy hopes to test properties and chemistry, seeing how the fuels react in the environments associated with high-speed military plans. The tests should be able to determine whether or not it is feasible to use biofuels as part of the fuel source for jet planes. The hope is that the most promising candidates will be available by 2013.
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