Monday, November 8, 2010: 9:48 AM
Grand Ballroom H (Marriott Downtown)
Current approaches for making jet fuel from alternate sources include the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process and conventional hydrotreating and hydrocracking used to produce “Hydrotreated Renewable Jet” or HRJ. Both FT and HRJ-derived fuels have low density relative to the specification requirement, contain no aromatics, and must be blended with the petroleum-derived counterpart to meet current jet fuel specifications. Low density results in low volumetric energy content and other operational problems. Aromatic compounds are necessary to promote elastomer (O-ring) swelling and prevent fuel system leaks. The requirement to blend FT and HRJ fuels with the petroleum counterpart creates logistics problems. Therefore, a true “drop-in” alternative fuel is desired to meet current goals established by the Department of Defense and the U.S. Air Force. Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) developed a novel hydrothermal process (patent pending) called “Catalytic Hydrothermolysis” (CH) and demonstrated the production of military jet fuel (JP-8) and diesel for Navy applications (F-76: Diesel, Naval Distillate) in a pilot-scale system. The hydrothermal process uses water to convert renewable plant and algal oils into pure hydrocarbon distillate fuels. The unique application of water minimizes hydrogen consumption and results in conversion of non-edible oils into ideal hydrocarbons for “drop-in” green jet and diesel fuels. In addition to the normal and branched paraffins that are formed by FT and conventional HRJ processes, the ARA CH process creates high density cycloparaffin and aromatic molecules in a single step, without blending, pyrolysis, catalytic reforming, catalytic hydroisomerization, or catalytic hydrocracking. ARA is under contract with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to produce samples of specification-quality JP-8 for specification and “fit-for-purpose” testing. In addition to producing true “drop-in” fuels that meet density and aromatic requirements, the CH process eliminates catalytic hydrocracking and hydroisomerization operations, and reduces catalysts requirements, hydrogen consumption and carbon footprint. This paper provides the results of recent jet and diesel fuel production and characterization tests.