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Renewable Jet Fuel, Diesel, and Bioproducts
May 24, 2018

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The aviation sector uses large amounts of jet fuel and as a result is a major source of carbon emissions and pollutants, which contribute to climate change and air quality deterioration. Just in the United States aviation consumes 24 billion gallons of jet fuel annually.

In an effort to make aviation more sustainable, USF has joined forces with other institutions and companies to form SPARC, the Southeastern Partnership for Advanced Renewables from Carinata. With the support of a major multi-year grant from the US Department of Agriculture, the Consortium aims at developing and commercializing the large-scale cultivation of the non-edible oilseed plant Brassica carinata and its conversion to renewable jet fuel, diesel, and a slate of bioproducts in the Southeastern United States.

In our region carinata can be produced as a cool season crop covering millions of acres of winter fallow land without affecting the production of existing warm season crops, such as soybeans, peanuts, and cotton. The carinata seeds are crushed to extract oil, which is chemically converted to jet fuel and diesel, while a number of bioproducts (such as glycerin and erucic acid) are recovered and converted to high value products. The solid residue (meal) from carinata seeds provides a high-protein feed source for livestock.

These characteristics make carinata a promising cool season crop that can provide agronomic, environmental, and economic benefits to farmers, hence helping develop a bioeconomy in the US.Dr. George Philippidis of the Patel College of Global Sustainability leads USF's participation in the Consortium by focusing his research efforts on biofuel and bioproduct development, supply chain logistics and resiliency, techno-economic assessment, undergraduate and graduate education, and workforce development. The research is conducted at PCGS' state-of-the-art Biofuels & Bioproducts Lab with the participation of several undergraduate, master, and doctoral students.

More information about SPARC can be found at https://sparc-cap.org