Jets are awesome. But face it - they're not environment-friendly (unless they're blowing up gas-guzzling tanks, Hummers or Ford Expeditions). Another baby step was taken today to falsify that statement. The Defense Energy Support Center just "awarded" a contract (boy, they're pretty high and mighty) to Shell Oil Products to produce and deliver 315,000 gallons of synthetic jet fuel to the Air Force and a NASA location to evaluate the Fischer-Topsch fuel.
The Fischer-Topsch jet fuel is made by combining carbon monoxide with hydrogen to form a hydrocarbon that can replace conventional aircraft fuel, eliminating the need for foreign oil. The Air Force will be doing extensive compatibility, reliability and cold-weather testing with the hope that they can certify their entire fleet to run on it by 2010, and have at least half of its fuel come from domestic sources. They get the first aforementioned batch in August, with more to be produced in the next three years.
Someday soon our Air Force pilots will have a clear conscience knowing that they're saving the whales and trees they're breaking the sound barrier over.
[Source: Defense Logistics Agency]