Algae Biodiesel Fuel

US Navy tests algae biofuel in Riverine Command Boat

The US Navy has carried out a full power demonstration of a biofuel blend based on 50% algae-based diesel in an experimental Riverine Command Boat.

The demonstration on Friday was carried out at the Naval Base in Norfolk, Virginia, with a fuel that also included 50% NATO F-76 fuel.

The biofuel component comprised Soladiesel, produced by San Francisco company Solazyme.

Rear Admiral Philip Cullom, director of the Chief of Naval Operations Energy and Environmental Readiness Division (OPNAV N45), which leads the Navy’s Task Force Energy, said: “Our primary mission for Navy energy reform is to increase warfighting capability, both strategically and tactically.

“From a strategic perspective, we are reducing reliance on fossil fuels from unstable locations. Tactically, efficient use of energy resources extends our combat range and use of non-petroleum fuels assures multiple supplies are available,” added Rear Adm. Cullom.

The testing and demonstration of alternative fuels for ships is being led by Naval Sea Systems Command’s advanced fuels program office.

Solazyme’s Soladiesel fuel is produced by microalgae in a fermentation tank, a process that results in a bio-based oil that can then be turned into diesel or other fuels including jet fuel.

The company is also providing jet fuel for the Navy to test, while it is working to provide 150,000 gallons of diesel for Navy testing this year (see this story).

Commenting on the Norfolk demonstration, Solazyme CEO and co-founder Jonathan Wolfson said: “Solazyme is proud to provide the first microbially derived ship fuel used by the Navy in a military boat. The United States Navy’s commitment to reducing dependence on fossil fuels has taken another step forward today and we applaud their leadership. We are honored to be a part of Navy’s efforts to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.”



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