The U.S. Navy has flown a Boeing-built EA-18G Growler aircraft using fuel made from 100 percent alternative sources during an initial flight test at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.
The military service said Friday it tested the catalytic hydrothermal conversion-to-jet fuel on the ground Aug. 30 at Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division’s Aircraft Test and Evaluation Facility before the branch conducted the flight test Sept. 1.
“This is the first time we’ve looked at a process that can produce a fuel with all the properties and chemistry of JP-5 jet fuel without having to blend with petroleum-based JP-5,” said Rick Kamin, the Naval Air Systems Command’s energy and fuels lead.
Flight test engineer Mary Picard said the CHCJ biofuel appeared transparent and the Navy did not notice any difference between the effects of alternative and petroleum-based JP-5 on aircraft performance.
Applied Research Associates and Chevron Lummus Global developed CHCJ through ARA’s process that uses the same materials as the Navy-approved Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids 50 percent biofuel blend but with a conversion method that produces a fully-synthetic fuel that does not need to be blended, the Navy noted.
The service branch noted the fuels program aligns with Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus’ energy goal to increase the use of alternative aviation fuels by 2020.
The Navy’s fuels team collaborates with various organizations such as the American Society for Testing and Materials in efforts to address aviation energy security and environmental sustainability through jet fuel produced from petroleum alternatives, Kamin said.