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Syntroleum's Ultra-Clean Jet Fuel To Be Tested In B-52 Flight Demo

File image of a B-52 being used in a NASA drop test.
by Staff Writers
Tulsa OK (SPX) Sep 19, 2006
Syntroleum has announced that its ultra-clean jet fuel will be tested in a landmark B-52 flight demo on the morning of Sepember 19, 2006 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. This event signifies the first time that FT jet fuel has been tested in a B-52 flight demo.

The FT aviation fuel will be blended with traditional JP-8 jet fuel for the flight test. Syntroleum's FT jet fuel stems from more than five years of considerable research and development efforts with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), focused on producing a high performance alternative fuel for military applications. The flight test is part of the DOD's Assured Fuels Initiative, an effort to develop secure domestic sources for the military's energy needs.

"This scheduled flight demonstration will be a significant and historical accomplishment for the company. We believe that successful testing of our fuel will provide the military with the experience necessary to consider long-term off-take agreements of fully tested FT fuels and we expect to meet the military's supply and quality needs.

Through this program, we have clearly demonstrated that the military can depend on Syntroleum to meet its stringent fuel quality specifications under its Assured Fuels Initiative. Nobody else can make this statement," said Jack Holmes, president and CEO of Syntroleum.

The jet fuel being tested was produced from a natural gas feedstock, but Syntroleum believes the fuel can also be produced from the vast domestic coal resources. The military is searching for a coal-based fuel for aviation use which could put the United States on a path to a more secure energy future.

"Having access to adequate supplies of jet fuel is a national security issue, and with an assured source, price fluctuations are reduced which provides stable planning and budgeting," said Bill Harrison, a fuels expert with the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

Besides military applications, successful testing of Syntroleum's FT jet fuel could lead to opportunities with commercial airlines.

"In light of high energy prices, we believe that successful military testing of our fuel could motivate commercial airlines to vigorously pursue FT aviation products for use in their fleet operations. This B-52 flight test could give birth to a whole new way of providing ultra-clean fuel to the aviation industry," Holmes said.

Previous research and testing by the military on Syntroleum's FT fuels have shown superior performance characteristics compared to aviation fuels produced by refining crude oil. Particulate matter and soot emissions have shown a reduction of greater than 90 percent depending upon the turbine engine type. The reduced particulate matter and soot emissions significantly improve engine efficiency, performance and overall air quality.

Syntroleum has produced more than 400,000 gallons of ultra-clean fuels at its Port of Catoosa facility near Tulsa, Okla. Besides Syntroleum's work with the DOD, the company has successfully tested its fuel in U.S. National Park Service vehicles and metrobuses in Washington D.C. and Tulsa through the U.S. Department of Transportation's ultra clean fuels program.

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