Solazyme wins US Navy contract to provide world’s first 100 percent algal-based jet fuel
Mon 28 Sep 2009 – San Francisco-based Solazyme has been selected by the US Department of Defense to provide 1,500 gallons (5,700 litres) next year for testing and certification by the US Navy of what it claims is the world’s first 100 percent algae-derived jet fuel. Earlier this month, the company was awarded a separate contract to provide research and development and delivery of over 20,000 gallons of renewable algae-derived F-76 Naval distillate fuel for use in US Navy ships. Last week, Sustainable Oils was handed a contract to supply the US Navy with 40,000 gallons of camelina-based jet biofuel for certification testing, with an option to supply a further 150,000 gallons depending on results (see story).
Solazyme will use its large-scale algal renewable oil production process in conjunction with Honeywell’s UOP’s Ecofining process to provide the jet fuel, called SolaHRJet-5, to confirm it meets all military specifications and functional requirements. The US Navy uses a jet fuel called JP-5, a similar standard to military JP-8 and civil Jet A, but because of the fire hazard of using it on board aircraft carriers it has a higher flash point.
Solazyme’s algal jet fuel was analyzed a year ago by the Southwest Research Institute, a leading US fuel analytical laboratory, and passed all 11 of the key specifications tested in order to meet the ASTM D1655 standard for aviation turbine fuel (see story). The specifications passed included the key measurements for density, thermal oxidative stability, flashpoint, freezing point, distillation and viscosity.
“Fuels made with our leading algal technology reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 85% versus standard petroleum based fuels,” said Jonathan Wolfson, Solazyme CEO. “We are honoured to be working with the US Navy to make one of the world’s newest and cleanest fuels through this contract for large scale delivery and testing of renewable advanced biofuels that meet the military’s demanding specifications for renewable jet fuel. Since producing the world’s first algae-derived jet fuel in September 2008, we have focused our research on developing a process to scale production at a commercial level while driving down costs.”