Success Spelled with 3 Letters

The U.S. military isn’t alone in its pursuit of renewable jet fuel
| December 02, 2010

To make it big as an advanced biofuel developer, there are plenty of paths to follow. But considering the amount of resources and time expended in air travel, it’s fairly  apparent that if the U.S. military (and maybe even the USDA) has anything to say about it, success might be spelled J-E-T. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced a five-year agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration “to develop aviation fuel from forest and crop residues and other ‘green’ feedstocks in order to decrease dependence on foreign oil and stabilize aviation costs.” The partnership will analyze a number of feedstocks that could be used in biorefineries to produce renewable jet fuels. Cobalt Technologies has already started working on it. Through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the U.S. Navy, the biobutanol developer will work to create a successful production technology suited for that three letter word. If the California-based company succeeds, the agreement will allow Cobalt exclusive license to commercialize the process. In the meantime, the FAA agreement will develop a tool that will examine feedstock supply chain components, including biomass availability, potential of various biomasses and the amount of time it will take to get to full-scale production. 

—Luke Geiver