We have thoroughly documented that airplanes can fly, and have flown, on liquid fuels made from Coal.
Among our reports attesting to that fact have been several concerning the flight by WV's then-Congressman Jennings Randolph, not long after WWII, from Morgantown to Washington, DC, in a small airplane powered by Coal liquids; and, most recently, one revealing the approval by international aviation authorities for commercial use of South Africa Synthetic Oil Limited's, SASOL's, 100% Coal-based jet fuel.
And, we have made reports on work at Penn State University, with another soon to follow, concerning their development of Coal-based aviation fuel.
We have also recorded that the US Department of Defense has been actively developing Coal-based liquid fuels, primarily for the Air Force. That, aside from their development, with the help of contractors such as United Technologies, of liquid fuels synthesized from Carbon Dioxide for use by Navy ships at sea.
Herein, we see that the USDOD continues their efforts to certify and qualify Coal-based liquid fuels in all of their aircraft, including helicopters flown by the United States Army.
The needed testing, however, should have already been done by other parties, as the certification of South Africa's and SASOL's 100% Coal-based jet fuel attests.
And, as you will see in our excerpts from the enclosed link above, the USDOD didn't have someone make their liquid Coal aviation fuel specifically and especially for them.
They simply bought it from SASOL.
Comment follows:
"Flying Skies With Coal Mix Fuel
July 30, 2010

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Recent flight testing on a Black Hawk helicopter at Redstone Arsenal proved to engineers Matt Boenker and Dale Cox something they already believed in - a U.S. helicopter can fly on an alternative fuel mix of 50 percent coal and 50 percent jet fuel.

A May 19 flight demonstration test conducted at the Redstone Airfield in support of Air Force research efforts further proved the viability of using an alternative synthetic fuel in aircraft - this time a Black Hawk helicopter.

"This was the first time a Black Hawk had flown on alternative fuel. It's a little bit groundbreaking. This is also the first time the Army has been involved in a test of this kind," said Matt Boenker, a contractor working for Avion in support of the Aviation Engineering Directorate-Propulsion, Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, and principal engineer for AMRDEC's Alternative Fuel Program.

Dale Cox, the subsystem's team chief for the Alternative Fuel Program, has long been convinced that the Army can save fuel costs and gain efficiencies with the use of alternative fuels. And, thanks to the recent Air Force test, Boenker and Cox are hoping to get closer to obtaining funding to research the use of alternative fuels by Army rotary aircraft.

"The Navy, Army and Air Force are all interested in alternative fuels," Boenker said. "We were involved in helping with the Air Force certification effort to certify the H-60 aircraft (Black Hawk to the Army and Pave Hawk to the Air Force) to fly on this coal-jet fuel mix.

"This is not an Army program and this test does not qualify or certify this fuel for Army aircraft. But it was a demonstration by the Air Force that this could be done. We need a lot more testing to use this on Army aircraft. We are now pursuing funding for that testing."

The process of turning coal into fuel was discovered in the 1920s by German scientists Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch, and today is referred to as the Fischer-Tropsch or F-T process. During World War II, the F-T process was used by Nazi Germany and Japan to fuel aircraft and the war effort. After the war, research on the F-T process was continued in the U.S. by German scientists as part of Operation Paperclip. During the economic isolation caused by apartheid, South Africa began using the F-T process to meet its energy needs using both natural gas and coal.

"Since the mid-1990s, South Africa has used its alternative fuel at the Johannesburg International Airport," Cox said.

"About four years ago the secretary of the Air Force mandated that all Air Force aircraft be required to use alternative fuel by 2016. The Air Force has set up a certification office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and they have a staff of about 30 who are certifying Air Force aircraft to use alternative fuel."

A tri-service effort involving the Air Force, Navy and Army is ongoing to test the use of alternative fuels. The Air Force has taken the lead in this effort due to its commitment to purchasing at least half of all its fuel for its continental U.S. fleet from domestic alternative fuel sources by 2016.

Although research has shown that F-T fuel runs cleaner than the standard JP-8 (Jet Propellant 8) fuel, there are concerns with the flight characteristics of the F-T fuel in its pure form.

"The Air Force is not trying to certify straight F-T. There are no aeromatics in the F-T fuel that keeps the O-rings expanded," Boenker said. "With the constriction of O rings, you will have fuel leaks. That's why we have to use a 50/50 mix of JP-8 fuel and F-T fuel. But, even with a 50/50 mix, you cut in half the amount of JP-8 fuel that you need."

(Note: Since South Africa is now flying aircraft on 100% Coal-based fuel, the "aeromatics" problem has apparently been solved. Maybe it's time, or far past time, somebody actually called SASOL and discussed the technicalities, instead of just buying a few tanks of Coal-based fuel from them. Moreover, we are forced to contend, synthetic additives could be readily made, and are already likely available, to keep "O-rings expanded".  Just ask any counter person at any NAPA auto parts store. Such an issue, we must again contend, is your proverbial "red herring", a distraction deliberately intended to deflect and deceive.)

"We were convinced there were no issues at all," Boenker said. "Our guys really had no reservations in using F-T(i.e., Coal-based. - JtM) fuel because it's flown in so many different aircraft."

(Note, again: According to a spokesperson for an officially-acknowledged USDOD contractor, there are "no reservations" about using Coal-based liquid fuel in military vehicles "because it's flown in so many different aircraft.")

On May 19, a series of three flight tests at the Redstone Airfield confirmed for the Air Force that F-T fuel can power a Black Hawk. The first flight test, using the original form of JP-8 as fuel, was conducted to confirm all systems on the Black Hawk were performing properly. In the second flight test, JP-8 was used in one engine while the F-T/JP-8 fuel was used in the second engine. Once that flight was confirmed a success, a third test flight using F-T/JP-8 fuel in both engines was conducted. (And) the F-T fuel was confirmed as a drop-in fuel, a fuel you can drop in and don't have to make any adjustments for."

(The) Air Force test used an Army helicopter (and the)  F-T fuel used in the May 19 test flights was purchased from South Africa.

(But) creating U.S. sources for alternative fuels will, in the long run, be a good move for the military and for the U.S. economy (Boenker and Cox) said (since) We don't want to be dependent on South Africa or any of the oil producing nations for our fuel".


We think that final statement to be of special import.

First of all, we are already "dependent on ... oil producing nations for our fuel". There is no "long run", and it would be a "good move" right now.

And, with all of our domestic Coal, why, in the world, would we, or how could we, ever become dependent on South Africa?

The answer is that we wouldn't, we couldn't - unless we want to continue on the course we're now following, and ignore the fact that our own, abundant United States Coal can be converted into liquid "drop in" fuel we "don't have to make any adjustments for". 

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