Today was the day the first C-17 Globemaster flew across the country powered by synthetic fuel.More here: USAF Looks to Alternative Fuels to Cut Costs
A Globemaster — its tanks half-filled with standard jet fuel and half with a synthetic, coal-derived fuel — flew Dec. 17 from Washington’s McChord Air Force Base to New Jersey’s McGuire Air Force Base. The B-52 bomber is already certified to use this fuel mix and full certification is expected for the C-17 in coming months.
It’s the latest milestone in an effort to prove all of the Air Force’s fleet can use this domestically produced synthetic fuel by 2011. By 2016, the Air Force wants all of its flights in the continental U.S. powered by the mix, touted as cleaner and less reliant on petroleum piped from foreign soil.
For every $10 increase in a barrel of oil, Air Force costs jump $610 million annually, according to assistant Air Force secretary William Anderson.
Last year, the cost of jet fuel jumped from 75 cents a gallon to $2.01. That's a $71,000 increase for just one fill-up of a B-52, which holds 47,000 gallons of fuel.
“Oil is selling for $94 a barrel right now,” the official, who asked not to be named, tells Newsmax. “The cost of synfuel is estimated to be between $45 and $60 a barrel. You do the math.”
With 42 gallons per barrel, that’s an annual savings of up to $3 billion.
Best of all, using synthetic fuel does not require engine modification, according to Air Force officials. In fact, it may perform better than traditional aviation fuel.