Renewable jet fuel receives "Popular Science" Best of What's New award

By | October 14, 2009
Posted November 17, 2009

Renewable jet fuel developed by the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota and the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has won the Best of What's New Award from Popular Science Magazine in the aviation and space category. The awards are announced in the December issue of Popular Science, which is on stands now.

Best of What's New recognizes outstanding innovation, vision, and execution of revolutionary products and technologies from companies, universities, laboratories, and government agencies. The aviation and space category recognizes anything that flies, inside or outside the atmosphere, as well as devices and technologies for exploring those realms. The 11 categories include technologies, computing, gadgets, security, green technologies, and home entertainment, to name a few.

"This is our favorite editorial project of the year because we get to comb through thousands of new products and technologies and then recognize the most outstanding 100 with awards," said Popular Science Editor-in-Chief Mark Jannot.

"We are truly honored and excited to be recognized by Popular Science," said EERC Director Gerald Groenewold. "This is a tremendous example of the type of practical, cutting-edge technologies the EERC is commercializing on a continual basis, as well as a perfect example of our ability to partner with private industry and government entities worldwide," he said.

The EERC's fuel was created from completely renewable crop oils, such as canola and soybeans. Developed through a variety of existing contracts, the fuel was vigorously tested at the Wright�Patterson Air Force Base Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and meets all of the screening criteria for jet propellent-8 (JP-8) aviation fuel, a petroleum-based fuel widely used by the U.S. military. One major advantage of the EERC's renewable fuel is that the fuel can be tailored to meet a wide variety of mission-specific requirements.

In July 2009, the EERC's renewable JP-8 was also successfully flown in a rocket in the Mojave Desert, outside of San Diego, California. The fuel burn was so successful that the rocket approached Mach 1 (the speed of sound) and reached an altitude of about 20,000 feet. The rocket has previously been tested with standard Jet-A fuel and rocket propellant-1 (RP-1) kerosene, for which the rocket was originally designed.

The EERC is the first enterprise in the world to produce 100 percent renewable jet fuel and diesel from crop oils through its Advanced Tactical Fuels Program, with support from government and private entities. The EERC is working with several commercial entities to commercialize the technology, which would produce billions of dollars worth of alternative fuels annually.

More information about the Best of What's New Awards and the other award winners is available at

The above project was sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Office and was financially supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Disclaimer: The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressly or implied, of the U.S. Army, DARPA, or the U.S. Government.

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