US Air Force invests in production of aviation fuel from atmospheric CO2

While the new Joint All-Domain Command and Control doctrine put forward by the American armed forces provides many answers to the multiplication of threats, it also induces, as we have discussed on numerous occasions, a notable increase in the complexity of supply chain for forces deployed in smaller and more dispersed units. In this area, two particularly important problems emerged in particular during the Afghanistan campaign which, in a way, foreshadowed the logistical constraints that the American forces will be confronted with, namely drinking water and fuel, together representing more 50% of the mass transported daily to supply the deployed forces. However, their conveyance on the Afghan roads was the privileged target of the Taliban attacks by improvised explosive device, as was the case in the same way for the French forces in Mali.

The DARPA has already undertaken, for several years, to develop new technologies for enable deployed forces to produce their own drinking water, especially from atmospheric humidity. Likewise, many programs have emerged to provide power to advanced substations without having to depend on supplied fuel to operate the generators. In addition, the combination of electrical energy and water produced locally makes it possible to consider hydrogen production to fuel vehicles, while recharging their batteries for vehicles with hybrid propulsion. But a new US Air Force program now goes much further, since it is about nothing less than produce aviation fuel from the CO2 present in atmospheric air.

The use of biofuels makes it possible to reduce the carbon footprint of combat aircraft, but does not solve the logistical problem.

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