Camelina oil and domestic coal will soon be blended to create biojet fuel using coal-biomass-to-liquids technology (CBTL), thanks to an agreement between Accelergy Corp. and Great Plains-The Camelina Company.
Montana has the potential for hundreds of thousands of acres of Camelina and the state has a coal reserve of 120 billion tons, according to officials with the two companies. Camelina is an oilseed crop that grows well on marginal land and uses little water and fertilizer.
“This will be a great plus for Montana, and is another step on our way to energy independence,” said Governor Brian Schweitzer.
“This teaming gives Great Plains the ability to significantly impact the jet fuel market with domestically sourced biojet fuel … and do it today,” said Sam Huttenbauer, CEO of Great Plains Oil & Exploration-The Camelina Company. “It will help fill the gap in low-cost biofuel availability from domestic sources as we expand the production of Camelina in North America.”
The aviation industry is demonstrating its desire for biojet fuel with the certification of biofuels on regular commercial flights expected in 2012, the Air Force’s target to use 50% domestic jet fuel by 2016, and the European Union’s mandate that transportation fuels consist of 10% biofuel by 2020. GA also is looking for an alternative fuel source as 100LL is phased out by the EPA.
CBTL begins with transforming raw material into feedstock through a gasification process. The feedstock is then turned to fuel using a liquefaction process that requires thermal and catalytic reactions. Accelergy’s CBTL process provides 20% lower CO2 emissions than conventional refining methods, resulting in cleaner burning fuel and more efficient engines, according to company officials.
Through this agreement, Accelergy will use Great Plains Camelina oil blended with its liquefied coal to create a synthetic jet fuel indistinguishable from standard petroleum fuel.
The technology has been proven at laboratory and small scale pilot projects, according to company officials, noting this agreement is the next step towards a commercial demonstration.