EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.: An Air Force test pilot is scheduled to fly an A-10 Thunderbolt II jet aircraft at Eglin Air Force Base March 25 on a blend of biomass-derived and conventional JP-8 jet fuel. This will be the first flight of an aircraft powered solely on a biomass-derived jet fuel blend.

The biomass-derived fuel used for this event is referred to as hydrotreated renewable jet, or HRJ, and is part of a class of fuels derived from either plant oil or animal fat feedstocks. The feedstock source of the biomass powering the A-10 demonstration is camelina oil, a flowering plant in the same family as mustard, cabbage and broccoli, but not used as a food-source.

Biomass-derived fuels offer the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While additional testing will be conducted to explore the full extent of their benefits, test data show that particulate emissions are reduced during combustion of biomass-derived fuels.

This event marks the next phase in the Air Force’s alternative aviation fuel program and represents a milestone in worldwide development of alternative aviation fuels, paving the way for future Air Force HRJ certification flight tests of the F-15 Eagle, F-22 Raptor and C-17 Globemaster III to begin this summer.

The A-10 demonstration flight supports the Air Force’s 2010 Energy Plan goal to be prepared to cost-competitively acquire 50% of domestic aviation fuel from an alternative fuel blend by 2016.

“The Air Force recognizes its role as a leader in energy management,” said Mr. Terry Yonkers, assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics. “This demonstration underscores our commitment to advancing technologies that increase our use of renewable energy and reduce our consumption of imported foreign oil.”