C-17 Using Combination of Bio- and Synthetic Fuels in Flight Tests

A C-17 Globemaster III based at Edwards Air Force Base is conducting flight tests to see how it performs with different combinations of biofuels.

The C-17 Globemaster lifts off. Source: USAF. Click to enlarge.

The aircraft was powered by 50% JP-8, 25% hydro-treated renewable jet fuel (HRJ) and 25% of a Fischer–Tropsch (FT) fuel. The 418th Flight Test Squadron conducted flight tests earlier using different combinations of regular JP-8 and the HRJ.

The Air Force is evaluating a number of different synthetic and biofuels across its different platforms; the Air Force is “feedstock agnostic,” noting that what the fuel was made from isn’t important so long as it has the desired performance and safety specifications.

The way we look at it is to figure out what fuels make the most sense from an aviation industry perspective—which ones have the potential to make the most fuel the most affordably with the least environmental impact.

—Tim Edwards, a senior chemical engineer with the Air Force Research Laboratory’s propulsion directorate, earlier this year

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