Worried about the feasibility of using non-petroleum based jet fuel on commercial airlines? The U.S. military has volunteered its jets as guinea pigs, ordering up 600,000 gallons of fuel made of weeds, algae, and fat from animal corpses.
The fuel, which is produced by Honeywell subsidiary UOP, will be combined with regular jet fuel–for testing on all military aircraft. But don’t think the military isn’t doing this out of the goodness of its collective heart. The sustainable jet fuel is being produced as an alternative to petroleum in the event of a supply shortage or war. But once the technology is developed, it can be appropriated by aircraft outside the military.
This isn’t the first time the military has invested in biofuels. Last month, the navy awarded Solazyme and Sustainable Oils $11 million in contracts to produce 20,000 gallons of algae-based ship fuel and 40,000 gallons of camelina-based jet fuel, respectively. It’s a drop in the bucket given the Navy’s fuel-gobbling habit (95 million barrels of jet fuel annually), but it’s a start.