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A process that makes ‘green jet fuel’ is slated for commercialization

By Gerald Ondrey |

Honeywells UOP LLC (Des Plaines, Ill.; www.uop.com) has developed a process that makes a renewable, “drop-in” jet fuel from sustainable oils, including camelina, tallow, jatropha or algae. Similar to the the UOP/Eni Ecofining process for making Green Diesel fuel (CE, May 2007, p. 18), the Renewable Jet Process is a two-stage process. In the first step, the natural oils are first hydroprocessed to remove oxygen from the triglycerides to form straight-chained C16–C18 paraffins, and propane as a byproduct. The wax-like paraffins are then isomerized into branched paraffins to improve cold-flow properties and reduce the cloud point. But unlike the Ecofining process for making diesel, this second step also performs selective cracking to yield shorter-chained (C10–C14) synthetic paraffinic kerosene (SPK) needed for jet fuel, explains Graham Ellis, UOP’s biorenewable energy business manager. The SPK produced by the process meets all the necessary specifications (flash point, freeze point and stability) of petroleum-derived aviation fuel. However, it contains no aromatics, so to make a drop-in fuel, the SPK must be blended with conventional jet fuel (up to 50 vol.%), says Ellis. The fuel has been tested in a number…
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