SOUTHWEST ASIA --
Sometimes it doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference.
The 407th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron is projected to save more than $700,000 over the next year by making a small change in the delivery system for the installation’s jet fuel.
Until mid-December 2016, the 407th Air Expeditionary Group received its jet fuel in the form of Jet Propellant 8 ready to go straight into the F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned there.
However, the fuels shop recently began receiving a more commercialized version of jet fuel, referred to as Jet A-1. The primary difference between the fuels is the addition of a corrosion inhibitor and anti-icing agent.
Tech. Sgt. Timothy Haag, 407th ELRS fuels fixed facilities NCO in charge, engineered a system on the installation, which injects those additives while the fuel is being delivered.
He said the two injectors can mix up to three additives to the fuel at once. Haag designed the system to use both injectors, which increases the speed at which the fuel can be off loaded, creates redundancies in the system and provides a backup in case of one becoming inoperable.
“The most difficult part of setting everything up was fine tuning the injectors,” he said. “We had to get the amount being injected just right to create the proper mixture.”
The ratios of the mixtures can be as small as four ounces per 1,000 gallons, so even a very small change could create catastrophic results.
A lab technician from the fuels shop must test the mixture during the beginning stages of the off-load every time fuel is delivered to ensure the mixture remains consistent.
Haag has only seen a system of injecting additives similar to this one other time in his career -- when he was deployed in 2003 as an airman first class.
“This is something that most fuels techs only read about in their (career development course materials),” he said. “It is great to be able to actually gain this knowledge first-hand and to be able to pass that knowledge we are gaining on to the Airmen who are deployed here.
"There is a chance these young Airmen may never see this again in their career, and the fact I get to show them is pretty awesome"
In addition to the experience gained by the Airmen, the process means big savings for the Department of Defense.
“Per gallon it is not much,” said Tech Sgt. Richard Balolong, 407th ELRS fuels information service center section chief. “But when we are talking about per year, it is going to save around $700,000. And that is just in fuel costs.”
Balolong said in addition to those savings, the Defense Logistics Agency will no longer have to pay for transportation of the fuel to and from facilities that can inject the additives or contractors to perform that process.
“This is a good example of how a small change can have a big impact on your unit if you are willing to look for it,” said Haag.