US Navy demonstrates algal biofuel in military helicopter 3US Navy demonstrates algal biofuel in military helicopter June 21, 2011 Email Print
The US Navy has successfully demonstrated algal-derived jet fuel in an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter test flight in a 50/50 blend with petroleum-derived jet fuel.
This marks the first military aircraft to fly on an algal-based jet fuel in history.
The fuel was provided by Solazyme, Inc. (NASDAQ:SZYM), a renewable oil and bioproducts company based in San Francisco, in the form of its Solajet HRJ-5.
The test flight preceded the historic announcement by ASTM International that it has preliminarily approved biofuel from algae and other renewable sources to be blended with traditional jet fuel on commercial flights worldwide, with formal approval expected sometime in July.
“We applaud ASTM International and the ATA and CAAFI for their efforts to advance the world’s newest and most sustainable fuels for aviation. The aviation industry has demonstrated a strong leadership position in fuel supply diversification and sustainability, and today’s announcement is a major step in its efforts to commercialize advanced low-carbon biofuels,” said Jonathan Wolfson, CEO, Solazyme.
“Solazyme is honored to be working with the US Navy and DLA-Energy in driving forward the testing and certification process for advanced biofuels. The successful flight demonstration of the Seahawk helicopter on a 50/50 blend of Solajet HRJ-5 and petroleum-derived jet fuel marks a significant milestone in this process, and reinforces the Navy’s commitment to securing our nation’s energy supply.”
Honeywell UOP was the refining partner on the jet fuel delivery, and has been working with Solazyme since 2009 on multiple contracts with the US military.
To date, Solazyme is the only company to provide the US Navy with microbially-derived advanced aviation and marine fuel.
These advanced biofuels are drop-in replacements to petroleum-based fuel, requiring no modification to engines or military logistics infrastructure. The fuels also meet Section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.