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AFRL receives plant-based fuel for testing

A Wisconsin company has delivered 100 gallons of its bio-based jet fuel for testing purposes at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Virent Inc., a Madison-based renewable energy firm, produced the jet fuel from 100 percent renewable plant sugars, company officials said. The fuel will be tested at Wright-Patt to validate it against the standards required for qualification and approval of new turbine fuels established by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

University of Dayton researchers will be involved “because we help staff the lab doing the testing and evaluation of bio-based fuels,” said Mickey McCabe, the university’s vice president for research.

The University of Dayton Research Institute in 2009 was awarded a six-year, $49.5 million Air Force research grant to develop advanced jet fuels and combustion technologies.

The Air Force consumes about 2.5 billion gallons of jet fuel annually, accord to the National Defense Industrial Association. By 2030, the Air Force Plans to fly on domestically produced alternative fuels derived from biomass sources that include plant oils, animal fats and agricultural waste.

Virent produced the fuel at its new demonstration facility in Madison, constructed under a $1.5 million award received in 2011 from the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation. The facility has the capacity to produce up to 5,000 total gallons of fuel per year, officials said.

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