The $2.5 million
Assured Aerospace Fuels Research Facility, located at the
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, is expected to be constructed by the
end of summer 2010. It is expected to develop around 15 to 25
gallons of research jet fuel composed of coal, biofuels, and other
gas alternatives every day, with the help of private companies and
There is an increased interest in
reducing the nation's dependence on petroleum-based foreign fuel, and
creating domestic biofuel resources is seen as an important step
towards that goal.
"The Air Force Research Laboratory has
been a center of excellence for fuel research, and this facility
allows us to expand that into the alternative fuel arena," AF
Research Laboratory engineer Tim Edwards told the AP.
"We expect a lot of graduate students from different
universities to come here and for it to be used in collaboration with
industry as well."
All branches of the U.S. military
continue research into alternative fuels, as the government spends
millions to fuel aircraft, ships, Humvees, and other necessary
military vehicles. The U.S. Army is currently
working on a hybrid Humvee – it recently selected a contractor
to help develop its battery -- and further work is expected to take
place in the future. The U.S. Navy also is interested in
ships using algae or other biofuels, with research currently
Any fuel breakthroughs made through the USAF
facility could be shared with the private sector, helping airlines
and other industries save money.