The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) in China Lake, Calif., has awarded Albemarle Corp., a specialty chemicals company, a contract to complete its first bio jet fuel production run based on bio n-butanol provided by Cobalt Technologies.
For this production run, Albemarle will use NAWCWD technologies to process Cobalt's bio n-butanol into renewable jet fuel at its Baton Rouge, La., processing facility.
‘Our production run of Cobalt's bio n-butanol provides another attractive pathway to create sustainable jet fuel not only for the military, but eventually for commercial aviation,’ says Dr. Michael D. Seltzer, head of the NAWCWD's Technology Transfer Program.
Upon completion, the resulting jet fuel will be tested by the U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center – Aircraft Division as a continuing process for military certification through the Department of Defense. Once this testing is completed, larger production runs will be undertaken to continue with flight testing.
Specifically, Cobalt converts non-food feedstock, such as woody biomass, into renewable butanol for jet fuel. The combined science team from Cobalt and the NAWCWD focused on scaling and optimizing the dehydration chemistry for the conversion of bio n-butanol to 1-butene, followed by oligomerization of the biobutene into jet fuel.