US Army tests isobutanol bio-jet fuel for helicopters

The US Army has successfully flown the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter on Gevo's ATJ-8 (alcohol-to-jet). Gevo is a commercial provider of renewable isobutanol. ATJ is an alternative fuel for JP8. The new bioblended jet fuel addresses the Army Energy Security Strategy and Plans mandate that the Army certify 100% of its air platforms on alternative/renewable fuels by 2016.

This flight marks the first ever Army Aircraft to fly on the isobutanol ATJ blend. Flight testing is being conducted at Aviation Flight Test Directorate on Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. Testing is anticipated to be complete by March 2014.

Certification programs like this are part of the Department of Defense's (DOD’s) long-term energy strategy, as evidenced by the US Navy's recent announcement of its "Farm-to-Fleet" program. The DOD and US Navy will begin to blend biofuels at 10% to 50% rates with conventional jet fuel (JP-5).

This testing is being performed as part of the previously announced contract with Gevo to supply more than 16,000 gallons to the US Army.

"Gevo's isobutanol can be used to produce a variety of conventional military jet fuels such as JP5, JP8 and commercial aviation jet fuel. We are pleased to see that the DOD is moving forward with its Farm-to-Fleet initiative and we would like to see the alcohol-to-jet from isobutanol be used as a blendstock for the Farm-to-Fleet program that aims to produce renewable fuels in the US," noted Patrick Gruber, Gevo's CEO.

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