Specifically, the DESC request for information (RFI) seeks to identify potential suppliers of synthetic fuel for aviation that meets the FT draft synthetic fuel specification for delivery to various Air Force and Navy installations for multiple weapon systems testing and subsequent use. DoD is investigating the feasibility of supplying aviation synthetic fuel requirements of up to 200 million U.S. gallons, or any portion thereof, during calendar year 2008, with 100 million gallons meeting the JP-8 flashpoint of 38°C and 100 million gallons meeting the JP-5 flashpoint of 60°C. Further, DoD is interested in long-term prospects for the manufacture and supply of aviation synthetic fuels in increasing quantities, with an emphasis on domestic industrial capability and feedstocks. This request is an essential step in determining market interest in the manufacture and supply of aviation synthetic fuel. Interested parties have been asked to provide the following information: (1) ability to meet the draft specification; (2) current and future yearly production capability in the continental United States (CONUS) and outside the continental United States (OCONUS); (3) location of the production facility; (4) quantity that can be produced and when it can be made available; (5) type and location of feedstocks to be used in the production of aviation synthetic fuel; (6) capability and experience in the sale and delivery of aviation synthetic fuel; (7) distribution methods available from the production facility; (8) whether delivery can be made on a free on board (FOB) destination basis (preferred method) or FOB origin basis; (9) financial ability to justify potential award of a supply-type contract; (10) estimated start-up cost to begin production of aviation synthetic fuel (specify scale of production); (11) estimated cost, variable and fixed, of producing a gallon of fuel; and (12) understanding of federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations, and familiarity and experience with environmental compliance procedures and regulations for applicable states and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regions. In addition, interested parties should provide comments on the nature and level of federal and state incentives and/or obligations (e.g., R&D, capital investment, investment or production incentives) needed to develop and sustain long-term domestic commitments to producing aviation synthetic fuels.
As of this writing DESC has received an overwhelming response to its RFI from the industry. This would appear to augur well for the production of alternative fuels by the industry, because DoD is the single largest buyer of jet fuel in the country. Also, military logistics and national security should take precedence, and it remains to be seen just how the use of synthetic fuels will affect the fuel interchangeability, airframe compatibility, fuel efficiency, and engine operability of re-engined aircraft. Specifically, the FT fuel must be fully interchangeable with JP-8 fuel, and switching from one to the other must not cause any adverse effects.
In April 2006, under the provision of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58), the Senate Energy Committee discussed the creation of technology for coal-to-liquid (CTL) fuel. The effort would comprise loan guarantees for building CTL plants producing over 10,000 bbl/day, up to $20 million in matching loan guarantees for large-scale CTL plants, and investment tax credits and expensing capped at $200 million. Thus, DOE has comprehensive plans to create a domestic CTL infrastructure.
Fuels for the military may not be sold into the commercial sector unless they meet certain specifications that are usually developed by a consortium of industry experts. For example, in the United States, the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) International Committee D2 is in charge of development and modifications of ASTM D 1655, which contains the specifications for the commercial jet fuels Jet A and Jet A-1. Military standards are “owned” by the relevant organization, for example, the Air Force Petroleum Office is responsible for MIL-DTL-83133E, which specifies the properties of fuels to be purchased as JP-8 and JP-8+100. These specifications typically require that fuels be derived