Dayton Business Journal by Joe Cogliano, Senior Reporter
Date: Friday, September 21, 2012, 1:02pm EDT
Joe CoglianoSenior Reporter- Dayton Business JournalEmail | Twitter
A division of Honeywell International Inc. is being tapped by the U.S. Air Force to expand the domestic supply of biofuels.
On Thursday, the Defense Department announced Des Plaines, Ill.-based UOP LLC was awarded a $17.3 million contract to help create an economically viable refinery for what’s known as advanced drop-in biofuels.
The deal is structured as a Technology Investment Agreement — requiring bidders to share in at least half the cost — and falls under the Defense Production Act, which is meant to ensure domestic production capability for technology items that are essential to national defense.
Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton is overseeing the 15-month contract. Honeywell also has a facility in the Dayton region.
The Air Force has been searching for fuels that can be a “drop-in” substitute for standard jet fuel, so finding a fuel that can be mixed — at a 50/50 ratio — without having to modify any aircraft or systems is key. That’s important because every time the price of oil climbs $10 a barrel, the Air Force has to shell out tens of millions of dollars more to keep flying.
UOP bills itself is a supplier and licensor of process technology, process plants and consulting services to the petroleum refining, petrochemical, and gas processing industries. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Honeywell and falls under its Performance Materials and Technologies strategic business group.
AFRL also recently unveiled a new Assured Aerospace Fuels Research Facility at Wright-Patt. It is being billed as a highly-versatile, cutting edge facility designed to help fill a much-needed gap in the fuel research effort, allowing government, industry and academia researchers to produce the optimum quantities of fuel needed to perform laboratory research without resorting to full-scale production efforts. The facility is capable of producing between 10 to 50 gallons of alternative fuels per day, depending on the type.
The Air Force says alternative fuels are a critical emerging need for both military and commercial applications. Fuels created from products such as animal waste, plant products, and other highly-renewable resources can potentially save money, lessen environmental impact, and decrease reliance on foreign oil.
The new fuels research facility is designed to accommodate a variety of processing methods and can process alternative fuels made from a vast variety of common, renewable sources, including soy, animal waste, algae, numerous plant-based materials, and coal-derived waxes and liquids.
In addition to its use as a military research facility, the AAFRF is available for low-cost commercial research and development.
The facility is a perfect solution for fuels developers looking to produce and demonstrate products at a larger-than-laboratory bench scale, said Robert Morris, AFRL Program Manager for the Assured Aerospace Fuels Research Facility Program.
Air Force officials are looking to discuss potential collaborative efforts with both public and private sector partners. For information