EERC creates first 100 percent renewable jet fuel


The Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) has achieved a major technical milestone in creating a 100 percent renewable domestic fuel that meets the JP-8 aviation fuel screening criteria, proving a pathway to providing energy security to the U.S. military and the entire nation.

EERC fuel samples created from multiple renewable feedstocks were tested at a U.S. government facility to evaluate key specification parameters for JP-8, a petroleum-based fuel widely used by the U.S. military. JP-8 specifications include parameters such as freeze point, density, flash point, energy content, and others; all of which were met by the EERC fuel samples.

The EERC fuel was produced under a $4.7 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The Department of Defense is the largest consumer of petroleum in America, and securing a domestic fuel source is a key operational challenge for the military. Production is now under way to produce a large fuel sample for engine testing this fall.

"This builds on a solid foundation of expertise at the EERC in the area of alternative fuel production," said EERC Director Gerald Groenewold. "The EERC is now uniquely positioned to provide drop-in-compatible JP-8 fuel from both fossil and renewable feedstocks, providing critical strategic opportunities for the U.S. military as well as commercial aviation."

The technology takes advantage of feedstock chemistry to reduce capital and operating expenses. The feedstock-flexible process can use various crop oils and waste greases. The process can be tailored to produce combinations of propane, gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel that are identical to petroleum-derived fuels, enabling direct substitution with existing fuels and providing renewable options across the spectrum of fuel needs.

The EERC is actively exploring partnerships with the private sector to move into full-scale production of the fuel. Preliminary negotiations are under way with feedstock suppliers and oil refineries. Talks of building a large-scale Advanced Tactical Fuels Production Complex are ongoing.