The Potential Role of Technological Modifications and Alternative Fuels in Alleviating Air Force Energy Problems

by Jean R. Gebman, William Stanley, John P. Weyant, William T. Mikolowsky

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Examines short- and long-term measures to reduce the consumption of petroleum jet fuels by the U.S. Air Force. Engine retrofits and aerodynamic modifications to existing aircraft can save significant quantities of jet fuel; however, savings in fuel expenditures are not enough to offset high initial costs of engine retrofits. If accomplished early in an aircraft's life cycle, relatively lower costs of modest aerodynamic modifications may be recoverable through savings in fuel expenditures. Synthetic jet fuels derived from oil shale or coal appear to be the most attractive future alternatives to petroleum jet fuels. If the foreign oil cartel maintains its price-setting effectiveness and a synthetic fuels industry develops in the United States, development of an Air Force capability to interchangeably use fuels derived from crude oil, oil shale, or coal could be economically attractive and enhance the Air Force's position in the jet fuel marketplace.

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