Powdered Algae based jet fuel ! 26Compact Contractors of America LLC, a Utah-based company developing dry algae aviation fuels, recently announced it has sold samples of its powdered algae-based jet fuel to the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. According to Robert Fulton, CCA?s chief technologist and founder, the laboratory will conduct testing and evaluation on the fuel for use as a solid propellant for aviation rocket use.
CCA's technology involves drying biobased feedstock at a specific temperature over a specific period of time, said Fulton. "We use a spray dryer [which is] commercial technology that is currently available," he continued. "I discovered?that under certain conditions you can actually draw the oils to the surface of the cells while you are removing the moisture from [the feedstock]."
The resulting powdered fuel is very conducive to simultaneous combustion, Fulton said, meaning that the sugars, plant material, cellulose and proteins all tend to fire at once. ?It does not caramelize and it does not gel, which makes it a good jet fuel,? he continued.
While CCA?s research is currently focused on using algae as a primary feedstock, Fulton said that there potential to use other feedstocks, such as camelina in the future. While the process can utilize a wide variety of algae strains, Fulton noted that the oil content of the feedstock affects the grade of the fuel. While high-grade fuels are needed for aviation use, Fulton said lower grades may be used to fuel stationary applications on the ground, such as turbine engines that produce electricity.