Military Green: U.S. Air Force Flies on Biofuel

Enlarge Image credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Joy Josephson MORE IMAGES

The U.S. Air Force burns through 2.4 billion gallons of jet fuel a year, all of it derived from oil. But a test flight on March 25 just might allow a flowering weed known as camelina to replace petroleum as part of the military's energy mix. An A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft took flight from Elgin Air Force Base in Florida using solely a synthetic jet fuel refined from camelina oil.

Further jet biofuel flights in an F-15, C-17 and F-22 are planned for later this year. The Air Force hopes to derive as much as half of its fuel requirements from alternative sources, such as camelina, by 2016—and certify all its aircraft to fly on such alternative fuels by 2012. "This sortie was pretty uneventful and predictable," said test pilot Maj. Chris Seager after the flight, according to an Air Force press release. Yet, it just might help the Air Force get a little greener.

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