GRAND FORKS, N.D.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota announced that its unique refining technologies have produced jet fuel from a combination of both coal and biomass feedstocks. The EERC technology centers on a unique direct liquefaction process utilizing a coal–biomass feedstock and tailoring the product liquids for U.S. military jet fuel applications.
Produced under the Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory, the EERC’s coal–biomass jet fuel meets key military aviation fuel requirements, providing a pathway to energy security for the U.S. military and the nation’s aviation industry.
The new fuel is part of the EERC’s long-term effort to broaden the resource base for fuel production beyond petroleum. Enhanced operability, energy security, and reducing aviation’s impact on the environment are drivers toward the use of renewable and nonpetroleum sources for producing jet fuels. Utilization of biomass with coal simultaneously reduces the environmental footprint of the fuel, limits land use in competition with food production, and draws on the vast coal reserves in the United States.
“We are focusing on the commercial potential of production technologies for fuels that have the same physical and chemical properties of highly refined petroleum-derived fuels,” said Carsten Heide, Associate Director for Intellectual Property Management and Technology Commercialization. “The new fuels are basically identical to existing fuels and integrate well with current petroleum-refining technologies.”
“One of the critical parameters for coal-derived fuels is thermal stability,” explained Ramesh Sharma, EERC Research Manager, who is leading the coal–biomass fuel production. “Not only did our fuel meet the standard fuel specifications, it also exceeds the thermal stability specification of military jet fuel. This means that the EERC fuel will burn cleanly without leaving deposits on important turbine engine parts. This was corroborated by an independent third-party laboratory.” The new coal–biomass fuel will undergo further testing by the U.S. military.
In partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense, the EERC previously produced the first 100% renewable jet fuel from canola and soybean oil, using proprietary refining technology developed under the EERC’s National Alternative Fuels Center®.
“With this innovative technology, we can safely and responsibly develop our coal and biomass resources at home in North Dakota and throughout the United States,” said EERC Director Gerald Groenewold. “We are directly responding to the President’s blueprint for a secure energy future, putting the EERC front and center in providing solutions to the pressing energy needs of the world by teaming with coal, petroleum, and biomass producers.”
The new fuel is available for licensing through the EERC Foundation, a separate 501(c) 3, which provides a dedicated infrastructure to support commercialization activities and houses the rights to technologies developed by the EERC.