US Navy Using Camelina Biodiesel for Some Jets

John Davis

SustainableOils2They might be sailin’ the ocean blue, but some U.S. Navy pilots will soon be flying biodiesel green!

This press release from camelina-based biodiesel maker Sustainable Oils
says the company has gotten a contract from the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) for 40,000 gallons of camelina-based jet fuel:

The fuel will be delivered to the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) fuels team in 2009 and will support the Navy’s certification testing program of alternative fuels. The contract includes an option to supply up to an additional 150,000 gallons of camelina-based jet fuel.

“This is a substantial endorsement of the years of research and development Sustainable Oils has been doing to improve camelina as a next generation feedstock,” said Scott Johnson, president of Sustainable Oils as well as president of the North American Camelina Trade Association. “Our camelina-based biojet fuel has already performed as well its petroleum counterparts in aviation tests involving a Boeing 747-300. We’re expecting similar performance with different, and even more demanding aircraft. I can think of nothing more appropriate for our nation’s defense aircraft than to be running on domestically-produced fuel.”

Camelina was selected by the DESC because it does not compete with food crops, has been proven to reduce carbon emissions by more than 80 percent, and has already been successfully tested in a commercial airline test flight. In addition, camelina has naturally high oil content, is drought tolerant and requires less fertilizer and herbicides. It is an excellent rotation crop with wheat, and it can also grow on marginal land.

Company officials say this contract shows that camelina holds great promise as a biodiesel feedstock to use the green fuel in the aviation field well into the future. Navy officials say the buy proves their commitment to energy independence.

Biodiesel, Government