Synthetic JP jet fuels derived from oil shale or coal appear to offer the most attractive alternative to petroleum jet fuels between now and at least the end of the century. While synthetic JP cannot compete economically with petroleum fuels in the marketplace today, the long lead times needed to introduce new military propulsion technologies more or less require that the military participate in synthetic-fuels-related research now in order to be in a position to choose the most cost-effective synthetic JP fuel option at some later date. The considerable uncertainties that surround the synthetic JP option suggest the desirability of following a parametric R&D approach to develop an understanding of the technical and economic trade-offs between jet engine technology and fuel processing at the refinery.
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