Science Applications International Corporation has announced that it has been awarded a contract by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop an affordable alternative to petroleum-derived jet fuel from agricultural and aquacultural feedstock materials.

According to Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), the contract has a total value of up to $25 million if all phases of the development program are completed. Work will be performed primarily in Georgia, Florida, Hawaii and Texas.

Under this contract, SAIC will lead a team of industrial and academic organizations to develop an integrated process for producing jet fuel (JP-8) from algae at a cost target of $3 per gallon.

SAIC and its team will develop technologies and processes to help achieve Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) goal including integrating algae strain selection, water and nutrient sourcing, farming, harvesting, separation, triglyceride purification, algal oil processing, and economic modeling and analysis.

SAIC’s work on the contract will happen in two phases. Phase-1 will concentrate on technology selection and development, pilot plant site analysis, system integration, and economic modeling and analysis, culminating in a lab-scale production capability, preliminary production facility design, and the delivery of samples for testing.

The corporation will also develop detailed commercialization and qualification plans showing a path to commercial and military systems viability. Phase-2 will focus on the final design, integration and operation of a pre-pilot scale production facility.