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United States’ Defense Vehicles to be Powered by Algae-derived Fuels Soon

June 18th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in algae biodiesel USA

As there is a growing concern for environmental, many countries are actively supporting the projects on renewable energy. The United States of America is no exception. Algae biofuels are getting considerable recognition in the US these days. No wonder the US president supports algae based biofuels as an alternative to the conventional fossil fuels.

Interestingly the American Government wants to use alternative fuels not only to protect the environment, but also to protect the nation’s security. Yes! The US Navy plans to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. It is about to fuel its aircrafts, vehicles and ships with a 50% biofuel blend.

The US Navy showcased a flight test on 22nd April 2010, the Earth Day, “Green Hornet,” an F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighter powered using a biofuel blend. The trend doesn’t end here. The US Army too builds combat vehicles to run on biofuels. The Defense Department of the US has invested $2.7 billion this year alone to increase energy efficiency, reported President Obama. He’s of the opinion to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign nations for oil resources and added that over the next few being, global oil dynamics may change the planet perpetually.


US imports 56% of  petroleum oil needs-over  10.9 million barrels on a  daily basis. That’s more than  the entire regular  production of Saudi Arabia.  America imports close to  one fifth of the world’s  available oil. The US  Military spends superior  than $60 billion per year for aviation fuel, as the military requires 60 to 75 million barrels of oil a year, much of that is used to keep the US Air Force in flight.


The Pentagon’s Department of Defense, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and Department of the Navy as well as the Air Force are also looking for a substitute for JP-8 grade jet fuel Straight away!


DARPA has claimed that a cheap, low-carbon fuel like algae would help the US military to get rid of fossil fuels. DARPA’s research projects have already extracted algae oil at a cost of $2 per gallon. It is to begin large-scale refining of that oil into jet fuel, at a cost of less than $3 a gallon, according to Barbara McQuiston, special assistant for energy at DARPA; the process of deriving fuel from algae is clear, but the challenge ahead is to find a cost-effective way of producing it. She hoped that a larger-scale refining operation, producing 50 million gallons a year, will be in motion in 2011 and the costs will drop further.


Mary Rosenthal of Algal Biomass Organization predicts that the algae fuel dream will come true in next two years. US scientists believe that they will soon be able to use algae to produce biofuel for the same cost as fossil fuels. Due to the growing interest in algae fuels, companies like Exxon have invested huge sums in algae fuel research, development and commercialization. Unlike oil crops like corn, algae do not interfere with food supplies. Algae-fuels hold the promise of being a net-zero carbon emitting fuels as they emit only the carbon they absorbed during photosynthesis.


The EPA declared last year that algae-based diesel reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% compared with conventional diesel. The Obama administration had earlier awarded $80m in research grants to a new generation of algae and biomass fuels. The goal of DARPA is to get half of the fuel for the military from renewable sources like algae.


The US Air Force wants its entire fleet of jet fighters and transport aircraft to test-fly a 50-50 blend of petroleum-based fuel and other sources – including algae – by next year. Commercial airlines – such as Continental and Virgin Atlantic – have also been looking at the viability of an algae-based jet fuel. Readers may remember the approval of algae biofuels by ASTM for use in commercial airplanes.


Pennsylvania State University has tested a groundbreaking new powdered algae based turbine fuel and confirmed it will work in combustion engines which are in the current service of the military.


Apart from these many algae fuel research projects are currently in force in the USA and many algae fuel companies are trying to commercialize algae biofuels. US houses many algae fuel giants like Solazyme, Exxon Mobil, Cellna Inc., Aurora Algae, Photon 8, Sapphire Energy, Algenol and so forth.


So, we will soon be able to see the US defense vehicles run by algae-derived fuels.

Link: http://www.arihantindia.net/news/protect-americas-national-security-with-algal-biofuel-research.html


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