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AF Pushes for SynGas Production March 22, 2008

Posted by OldGuy in Alternatives, Fischer-Tropsch.
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Now that the technology has been proven successful, the USAF is ready to transfer the technology to someone who can begin to make production quantities.

Yesterday, I wrote that the Air Force plans to fuel all its jets with 50/50 syngas by 2011. Today we learn that the AF wants to fuel half its North American ground fleet with a synthetic-fuel blend by 2016. To do so, it would need 400 million gallons of coal-based fuel annually.

And they want the private sector to help them do it. The AF wants to create a market for some enterprising companies to fill. (The market would be shared by commercial air fleets, long-haul trucking companies, and others.)

“Because of our size, we can move the market along,” he said. “Whether it’s (coal-based) diesel that goes into Wal-Mart trucks or jet fuel that goes into our fighters, all that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, which is the endgame.”

Technology transfer has always been an issue for the military research labs. The labs have the authority to push the state of knowledge beyond what the commercial marketplace has been willing to tackle. In the past, military labs have created or funded the development of the transister, the compact disk, widespread use of the precursor to the internet, online file sharing, and many of the core technologies under the social networking ond mapping software applications.

Air Force Assistant Secretary William Anderson. eplains. “Coal producers have been unsuccessful in prior efforts to cultivate such a market. Climate change worries prompted Congress last year to turn back an attempt to mandate the use of coal-based synthetic fuels.”

The Air Force would not finance, construct or operate the coal plant. Instead, it has offered private developers a 700-acre site on the base and a promise that it would be a ready customer as the government’s largest fuel consumer.

A 2006 report from the National Coal Council said a fully mature coal-to-liquids industry serving the commercial sector could produce 2.6 million barrels of fuel a day by 2025. Such an industry would more than double the nation’s coal production, according to the industry-backed Coal-to-Liquids Coalition.

Read more here.

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