Biofuel used in Air Force aircraft test

March 25, 2010 at 1:21 PM
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VALPARAISO, Fla., March 25 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force said a biomass-derived jet fuel blend was used to fuel the flight of an A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft in Florida Thursday.

Air Force Maj. Michelle Coghill confirmed both of the military aircraft's engines used the biofuel for Thursday morning's flight at Eglin Air Force Base near Valparaiso, Fla., the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News reported.

The Air Force said the flight represented the first time all of a military or civilian airplane's engines were fueled by a biofuels blend.

The test flight represents part of an ongoing Air Force effort to develop and test biofuels. The Daily News said officials from both the Air Force Research Laboratory and Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base oversaw the test flight.

Unlike conventional jet fuel, biofuels burn cleaner without compounds like sulfur. Yet without such ingredients, biofuels are less stable and provide limited engine lubricating capabilities.

University of Dayton Research Institute official Dilip Ballal, whose Ohio institute is working on fuels and combustion research, said a suitable solution was a blend of biofuels with conventional JP-8 jet fuel.

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