ST. LOUIS — Boeing [NYSE: BA] is supporting the U.S. Navy’s biofuel-powered flight, scheduled to take place on Earth Day, April 22. An unmodified, Boeing-built F/A‑18F Super Hornet will take off from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., powered by a sustainable biofuel blend of 50 percent camelina and 50 percent JP‑5 aviation fuel.
Operating Navy platforms with renewable energy sources such as sustainable biofuels is part of the service’s strategy to reduce reliance on fossil fuels by half over the next decade, as well as the Secretary of the Navy’s broader emphasis on energy-efficiency efforts for the Navy and Marine Corps.
Boeing has been assisting the Navy through laboratory testing of fuel properties and engineering evaluations of fuel system compatibility, according to Tim Vinopal, Boeing’s environmental chief engineer supporting the Boeing Defense, Space & Security effort.
“We have worked closely with the aviation and fuels industries for several years to provide our customers with options to reduce environmental impact, including the use of sustainable biofuels,” Vinopal said. “We are honored to be able to support the U.S. Navy in this groundbreaking renewable-energy effort.”
Boeing biofuel testing has included demonstration flights of five commercial aircraft, testing of four engine types, and laboratory testing with various fuel processors, feedstocks, and engine manufacturers to ensure these fuels meet or exceed the high performance and quality standards specified for current aviation fuels, without modification to the engine or airframe. Camelina is one of several promising biofuel crops, as it requires little water or fertilizer and does not compete with food crops.
The company also is helping to create a commercial market for renewable fuels and to guide their approval for use in commercial aviation.
“Boeing is applying the significant knowledge we’ve gained during this sustainable biofuel development effort in support of U.S. Department of Defense specification revisions for military fuels,” said Vinopal. “Boeing recognizes the serious challenges facing the global ecosystem and is committed to improving the environmental performance of its operations, products and services.”
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world’s largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide.
Boeing Defense, Space & Security