Cobalt Technologies and U.S. Navy to Jointly Develop Military Jet Fuel

Research Underway to Convert Biobutanol into Full Performance Jet Fuel

Nov 03, 2010, 07:30 ET from Cobalt Technologies

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Nov 3, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Cobalt Technologies, the leader in commercializing biobutanol as a renewable chemical and fuel, announced the signature of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Navy to develop technology for the conversion of biobutanol into full performance jet and diesel fuels.

Under the CRADA, n-biobutanol produced by Cobalt will be converted to bio-jet and biodiesel fuels using technology developed at the U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) in China Lake, CA.  The result will be a complete substitute for military and civilian jet fuel, meeting all applicable specifications.  In addition, Cobalt will have an option to obtain an exclusive license to commercialize process improvements, made under the CRADA, for the production of all military and civilian transportation fuels.  

"We are pleased to collaborate with the U.S. Navy to develop a renewable option for jet fuels," said Rick Wilson, CEO of Cobalt Technologies. "It's exciting to be part of this research, which will help relieve our reliance on foreign oil through the use of renewable fuels developed here in the United States.  With our front end for producing renewable n-butanol and the NAWCWD's technology for converting n-butanol into jet fuel, we can offer a complete process that directly addresses the military's green fuels mandate."  

"It is a privilege for NAWCWD chemists to work in partnership with Cobalt Technologies on this exciting technological venture," said Dr. Michael D. Seltzer, head of NAWCWD's Technology Transfer Program.  "Anytime we can support the fleet and at the same time transfer important technology to the private sector, it is a win-win situation.  As NAWCWD continues its leadership role within DoD in the research and development of alternative fuels, opportunities such as this are greatly valued."

The U.S. Navy has set a high priority on the development of cost-effective and sustainable domestic sources of fuels and has several initiatives in place to increase its use of biofuels, while decreasing its carbon-footprint and dependence on foreign petroleum. By collaborating with the Navy scientists who have expertise in converting biobutanol to bio-jet and biodiesel fuels, Cobalt Technologies is well positioned to demonstrate and implement a large-scale process for generating sustainable and renewable fuel for both military and commercial use.

CRADA Research Details

Under the CRADA, a team of scientists from Cobalt and the NAWCWD will investigate the optimum conditions for the conversion of Cobalt's n-biobutanol into jet fuel, while ensuring the process minimizes time, cost and energy consumption.  More specifically, the combined team will optimize dehydration chemistry for the conversion of bio-n-butanol to 1-butene, followed by oligomerization of the biobutene into jet fuel, based on a process developed at NAWCWD.  

Additional work will focus on converting the biobutanol into butyl ether, which the NAWCWD has shown can be mixed with n-butanol and other compounds to create a viable drop-in diesel fuel replacement.

This CRADA with Cobalt Technologies is made possible by the U.S. Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986, which allows private organizations to access the expertise, capabilities and technologies of U.S. Federal laboratories to improve the economic, environmental and social well-being of the United States.

About Cobalt Technologies

Cobalt Technologies is commercializing biobutanol, a versatile platform molecule for the renewable and profitable replacement of petrochemicals and petroleum. The company's technology efficiently converts diverse non-food feedstocks, initially woody biomass and sugar cane bagasse, into biobutanol. Cobalt will offer complete "capital light" systems for biomass power facilities and retrofitting pulp and paper plants with a cost-effective biorefinery module, taking advantage of benefits of co-location while enhancing overall facility returns.  Biobutanol can be sold as is for use in paints, coatings and other products; converted into bio-based plastics or full performance jet fuel and diesel; or blended with gasoline, diesel and ethanol. Engineered to achieve low costs through high productivity, energy efficiency and the use of low-cost feedstocks, Cobalt is making biobutanol and its derivatives a cost effective substitute to petroleum-based materials.  Cobalt is based in Mountain View, CA.

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SOURCE Cobalt Technologies