Englewood, Colo.—The U.S. Air Force (USAF) flew its first alcohol-powered test flight using a fuel blend developed by Colorado-based Gevo, Inc.
Working with the Air Force Research Laboratories (AFRL), the Air Force Alternative Fuels Certification Division (AFCD) and the 40 Flight-Test Squadron, Gevo announced the team powered an A-10 Thunder Bolt jet using its blend of 50 per cent alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) and 50 per cent jet propellant (JP-8) fuels.
Launched from Eglin Air Force Base in western Florida, a series of flight test maneuvers, throttle bodies, auxiliary power unit (APU) starts and engine-assisted starts were performed using the single-seat aircraft.
“We’re extremely proud to have witnessed and contributed to the USAF’s first and only ATJ test flight,” Gevo president and CEO Chris Ryan said in a statement. “(The) test flight represented an accumulation of more than 4,000-hours of hard work involving innovative testing, multiple players and years of research on everyone’s part.”
The company boasts the technology as a viable and promising alternative for both commercial and military applications.
Gevo was contracted by the USAF to provide 11,000 gallons of its ATJ fuel derived from isobutanol for testing by the AFCD.
ATJ fuel, according to Gevo, is designed to be fully compliant with aviation fuel specifications and provide equal performance to standard jet fuel.
The A-10 Thunder Bolt is a Close Air Support (CAS) aircraft, providing support to ground forces by attacking tanks, armoured vehicles and other ground targets.