US Army completes biofuel powered Black Hawk Helicopter trial

23 December 2013 (Last Updated December 23rd, 2013 18:30)

The US Army has successfully flown its Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter powered by a 50-50 blend of Gevo's ATJ-8 (Alcohol-to-Jet),, marking the first ever Army Aircraft flights using the isobutanol ATJ blend.

The US Army has successfully flown its Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter powered by a 50/50 blend of Gevo's ATJ-8 (alcohol-to-jet), marking the first ever army aircraft flights using the isobutanol ATJ blend.

Produced at Gevo's Luverne plant, the bio-fuel is transformed to jet fuel at hydrocarbon processing facility in Texas.

Flight testing, which forms part of the earlier contract with Gevo to supply more than 16,000gal to the US Army, is being carried out at Aviation Flight Test Directorate (AFTD) on Redstone Arsenal and is expected to be completed by March 2014.

"ATJ from isobutanol is a clean burning, homegrown, bio-jet fuel, and we have a potential route to deliver aviation biofuels at scale and at competitive cost for many aircraft platforms including military and commercial."

Flight testing is being carried out at Aviation Flight Test Directorate (AFTD) on Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

In addition to the US Army, the US Navy has also revealed its 'Farm to Fleet' project involving the use of blended biofuels at 10% to 50% rates with conventional jet fuel (JP-5).

ATJ is a renewable, drop-in alternative fuel for JP8 that addresses the Army Energy Security Strategy and Plans mandate that the Army certify 100% of its air platforms on alternative/renewable fuels by 2016.

Gevo chief executive officer Patrick Gruber said that the Department of Defense is moving forward with its 'Farm to Fleet' initiative that aims to produce renewable fuels in the US.

Gruber said: "Gevo's isobutanol can be used to produce a variety of conventional military jet fuels such as JP5, JP8 and commercial aviation jet fuel.

"ATJ from isobutanol is a clean burning, homegrown, bio-jet fuel, and we have a potential route to deliver aviation biofuels at scale and at competitive cost for many aircraft platforms including military and commercial."

Designed to be compliant with aviation fuel specifications, Gevo's patented ATJ fuel is similar to petroleum jet fuel and offers equivalent performance, such as fit-for-purpose properties.

Defence Technology