U.S. Navy Tomahawk Missile Now Runs on Corn

U.S. Navy Tomahawk Missile Now Runs on Corn

Los Alamos National Laboratory has created a revolutionary method for the U.S. Navy's impressive Tomahawk Missiles to now run on corn instead of fuel.


The U.S. military's most plentiful missile is the Tomahawk missile. It was developed in the 1970s and became one of the first low-altitude, radar-evading cruise missiles on the market. As of today, 143 U.S. Navy warships carry the missile.

This missile is different from others in that it's powered by turbine engines that trade speed for fuel efficiency and distance. This means they run on JP-10 jet fuel.

As the U.S. Navy has around 4,000 Tomahawk missiles to its name, this means that making JP-10 jet fuel is of paramount importance. Now, LANL has found a way to create JP-10 fuel in an environmentally friendly manner, and that's entirely made domestically. Unlike petroleum-based JP-10, feedstock-based JP-10 doesn't need harsh acids to manufacture.

The fuel is made thanks to a byproduct of the process for making corn-based ethanol, which is a more efficient use of the corn and at the same time gives ethanol manufacturers a good reason to keep producing it.

The most important factor, though, is the fact that the new method is entirely renewable and is made with the U.S.'s largest crop. With a more JP-10 fuel-based market, LANL believes this could bring the cost of JP-10 down by 50%, and with all the planting, growing, manufacturing, and refining done in the U.S., this would create many more jobs as well.

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