Air Force Likes Synthetic Fuel From Coal, But Can It Be Made?

Saturday, October 6th 2007, 7:16 pm
By: News On 6

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ An Oklahoma-based company that made synthetic fuel used in recent Air Force trials has mothballed its plant where it produced the fuel, which was made from domestic coal. Gary Gamino, a spokesman for Tulsa-based Syntroleum, says the company could not afford to keep the plant running. He says the company now is focused on manufacturing synthetic jet fuel made from animal fats, greases, and vegetable oils.

The Air Force wants to power half its in-country flights with the synthetic fuel made from coal by 2016, but it has yet to figure out how to get that fuel.

No commercial plants exist in this country to make it and industry officials say the government has not offered enough incentives to build a plant. The idea also faces environmental questions.

Air Force officials say they were impressed with recent tests of the synthetic fuel produced by Syntroleum when it was blended with an equal amount of traditional jet fuel.

The company is supplying 500 gallons of the fuel to the Department of Defense for more testing.