Jet fuel’s new frontier takes to Australian skies

QUEENSLAND-based ‘clean coal’ company Linc Energy has achieved a world first, fuelling a passenger flight with synthetic fuel created using its industry-leading underground coal gasification (UCG) to gas to liquids (GTL) process.
In a three-day event the company’s fuel powered a jet that crossed Australia, beginning in Perth and stopping in Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney before completing its journey at Linc’s demonstration facility in Chinchilla, Queensland.
Dubbed the Jet A1 Dash, the promotional tour mirrored a road trip undertaken by Linc chief executive officer Peter Bond last year that saw him drive across the country in a Volkswagen Polo powered by the company’s synthetic diesel. This year’s journey saw
Mr Bond cover 4272km in three days on a Citation J2 aircraft. nAccording to the Australian Government’s Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics data, in 2011 Australia’s net import of crude oil and refined material for the production of transport fuel totalled about 470,000 barrels per day. At a crude oil price of US$100 per barrel, the net cost to Australia exceeds US$47 million per day, or US$17 billion per annum.
Mr Bond described the creation of jet fuel using the UCG to GTL process as “a new frontier”, and said the Jet A1 Dash had showcased the environmental and economic benefits of using Linc’s technology. “Linc Energy has the ability to access coal at over three hundred-plus metres deep, turn that coal into gas in-situ and then…that gas into a clean synthetic fuel and…in a cost effective manner,” he said.“The exciting part of this event is that we have used our resources, our people and our technology to produce synthetic jet fuel here in Queensland, Australia.
“The [Jet A1 Dash] demonstrates that jet fuel can be made in Australia from coal resources using processes such as Linc Energy’s UCG to GTL technology. This was always on our list to achieve and now Linc Energy has achieved it.”
Mr Bond said that if Australia had the capacity to produce more of its own jet fuel and diesel products, many concerns about rising oil prices and the balance of payment deficits would be addressed.
“We should be creating alternatives. We should be saying that we as a nation want and need an additional 20 per cent of our jet fuel, or our diesel, to be produced here in this country using Australian employees and engineers,” he said.
The fuel powering the Jet A1 Dash was manufactured to the standard approved by the International Air Transport Association.
The fuel was blended with standard jet fuel, in accordance with the specification ASTM D7566, which requires a 50/50 blend. After the fuel was produced in Australia, further specialist refining was undertaken in the US. Mr Bond said that following the successful completion of the Jet A1 Dash, Linc’s focus would turn to commercialisation of the UCG to GTL process for production of both diesel and jet fuel.

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