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Washington-based companies planning to produce large quantities of jet biofuel

July 29, 2011, 01:01 pm

Earlier this week, the leaders of two companies out of Seattle, Washington, testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee about their plans to build jet biofuel-producing plants in the state.

By 2014, AltAir Fuels plans to produce 100 million gallons of jet biofuel a year, while Imperium Renewables aims to produce 80 million a year. Farmers from around Washington have been working with AltAir to grow an oil-seed crop called camelina.

"We are pretty close to being able to getting this done," AltAir's CEO Tom Todara told the subcommittee. "And if we can get through the next couple of years, we'll prove to all of you and the rest of the country that these fuels are sustainable, they are ready and scalable, and they are price-efficient."

Terry Yonkers, an assistant secretary of the U.S. Air Force, announced that by 2016, the military branch plans to have jet biofuels account for half of its domestic fuels. He said that testing has proven that a 50 percent blend of biofuel and traditional jet fuel results in cooler-burning fuel, which could possibly extend engine lifespans by 15 to 20 percent.

General aviators will also be able to benefit from jet biofuels that extend engine lifespans. The money saved by not having to repair or replace engines can go toward purchasing a comprehensive pilot life insurance plan. 

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