DARPA funds SAIC research into biofuels

SAIC to investigate making JP8 fuel from algae

On Dec. 10, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded Science Applications International Corp. a $14 million contract for research into biofuels for the military. The research, based on an SAIC proposal entitled: "An Integrated and Economic Approach to make JP-8 from Algae," is part of a DARPA program to promote the development of biofuels.

The primary objective of the "Biofuels- Cellulosic and Algal Feedstocks" program is to develop the technical capability, commercial algae production experience, resources, and commitment to demonstrate and ultimately commercialize the affordable production of JP-8 surrogate fuel from algal feedstock.

JP-8 is a kerosene-based fuel used as both an aviation fuel and as a diesel fuel for most military vehicles, as well as for diesel generators and other field systems. A biofuel version of JP-8 would significantly change both the strategic issues surrounding supply of military fuels and their environmental impact.

About the Author

Sean Gallagher is senior contributing editor for Defense Systems.

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