The U.S. Navy successfully flew an EA-18G Growler on 100 percent renewable jet fuel on Sept. 1, 2016, according to an Applied Research Associates (ARA) news release. Flying out of Naval Station Patuxent River, Maryland, the “Green Growler” completed the first of nine test flights that were flown on the fuel in September as part of the military specification (MILSPEC) certification for the ReadiJet (CHCJ-5) fuel’s operational use. ARA’s 100-percent renewable ReadiDiesel (CHCD-76) had previously been certified aboard the Navy’s Self Defense Test Ship in May 2016.
“Initial results from the test flight showed that our CHCJ-5 performed just like petroleum JP-5. That is exactly what we expected because the chemical composition, physical properties, and energy content of our fuel are nearly identical to its petroleum counterpart,” said ARA’s Lead Engineer Ed Coppola.
It is produced through a process that converts “a wide variety of low-cost, contaminated waste feedstocks such as yellow grease from rendering facilities, used cooking oil, and brown grease recovered from grease traps into renewable ReadiJet® and ReadiDiesel®.”
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has been pushing the exploration of renewable fuels for the Navy in order to increase the service’s operational flexibility and energy security. While recent discoveries and technologies are making the United States into a net exporter of fuel products, petroleum remains a finite resource, and Mabus has presided over a series of experiments with vessels and aircraft burning a variety of renewable fuels and fuel mixtures.
“We are excited to work with the U.S. Navy as it takes this important step toward the use of 100% drop-in renewable jet and diesel fuels in its aircraft and ships,” said Chuck Red, vice president of fuels development for ARA. “Our renewable fuels continue to prove their viability as 100 percent replacements for petroleum in diesel and jet fuel applications, and we look forward to the opportunity to work with our Navy partners to support their operational needs. ARA’s goal is to provide an alternative renewable fuel that can be produced at prices competitive with petroleum. We are quickly closing in on that goal.”
ReadiJet® reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent compared to petroleum, according to the release. It is produced through a process that converts “a wide variety of low-cost, contaminated waste feedstocks such as yellow grease from rendering facilities, used cooking oil, and brown grease recovered from grease traps into renewable ReadiJet® and ReadiDiesel®.” Because the fuels can be used in jet and diesel engines without blending and are completely compatible with existing petroleum jet and diesel fuels, they can be stored and processed through existing petroleum fuel infrastructure and equipment and do not have to be segregated from existing petroleum-based fuels.
ARA and Chevron Lummus Global (CLG) developed the method for producing the fuels based on ARA’s Catalytic Hydrothermolysis (CH) and CLG’s hydroprocessing technology. The two concerns are now engineering a 5,000 barrel-per-day commercial-scale biofuels isoconversion facility. It is planned to produce renewable diesel, jet fuel, and naphtha from ultra-low carbon intensity waste oil feedstocks, according to the release.
“We are continuing to take important, deliberate steps toward our goal of commercial scale production of 100 percent drop-in diesel and jet fuel from waste oils at prices competitive with their petroleum counterparts. ARA invested in the research and development of our renewable fuels starting in 2006. We did it because we recognized the value of this world-changing technology, and on Sept. 1, we made history,” stated ARA Senior Vice President Glen McDonald.