(EnergyAsia, May 10 2012, Thursday) — Australia’s Linc Energy said its CEO Peter Bond has begun a 4,272-km test flight across the country powered by the synthetic jet A1 fuel produced from converting underground coal using its proprietary technology.

Linc Energy said it used the underground coal gasification (UCG)-to-gas-to-liquid (GTL) process at its Chinchilla demonstration plant in Queensland state to produce high-quality synthetic fuel for the Citation CJ2 jet that began a three-day proof-of-concept flight on May 7.

Earlier, the company had agreed to jointly establish UCG plants in China with GCL Projects Limited, a subsidiary of Golden Concord Group Limited, to produce synthetic diesel and jet fuel as a step forward in commercialising Linc Energy’s technology.

Peter Bond, Linc Energy’s CEO, who was in the plane that took off from Perth in Western Australia to Chinchilla, said:

“It is exciting that the announcement has coincided with the Jet A1 Dash because the event is designed to showcase the proven nature of UCG-to-GTL and the fuel it produces.”

As part of its historic flight, the jet stopped off for stakeholder functions in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.

Linc Energy said the specially produced Jet A1 Dash fuel has the potential to be a solution to the energy security challenge facing the world and Australia, particularly as the fuel will be domestically produced and consumed.

It has the additional benefit of being produced from the billions of tonnes of ‘stranded coal resources’ all over the world, creating the opportunity for billions of barrels of clean synthetic diesel and jet fuel that can feed the energy economy for generations.

Mr Bond said: “The event demonstrates that jet fuel can be made in Australia from coal resources using processes such as Linc Energy’s UCG-to-GTL technology. This was always on our list to achieve and now Linc Energy has achieved it. The Jet A1 Dash across the country is a great way to demonstrate the performance of the fuel.

“The Diesel Dash (where Linc Energy drove a Volkswagen diesel Polo motor vehicle,6,000 km across Australia in 2011, powered by diesel also produced at Linc Energy’s Chinchilla UCG-to-GTL demonstration facility), was so effective, why not now do it in a jet? There’s nothing like being in the front seat of a jet sitting at 40,000 feet to show you have total faith in the product.

“If Australia could produce more of its own jet fuel and diesel product, it would assist in addressing concerns about rising oil prices and the balance of payment deficits, which are putting huge pressures on the aviation business and the economy at large.”

According to the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, Australia’s net import of crude oil and refined material for the production of transport fuel reached 470,000 b/d last year at an average cost of US$17 billion a year, based on an average crude oil price of US$100 a barrel.