Algae jet fuel supplier Solazyme ranked the 'hottest' in annual poll of the world's top bioenergy companies
Fri 4 Dec 2009 – San Francisco-based Solazyme has come top in a poll of the biofuel industry’s ‘hottest’ companies for 2009/10, as voted by a panel of invited international selectors and the subscribers of Biofuels Digest, the sector’s leading publication. Solazyme was recently awarded a contract by the US Department of Defense to supply the air force of the US Navy with 1,500 gallons (5,700 litres) of algae-derived jet fuel for testing and certification. Other jet biofuel companies who performed well in the poll include Amyris Biotechnologies (3rd), Sapphire Energy (5th) and Honeywell’s UOP (12th).
In September 2008, Solazyme claimed to have produced the world’s first algae-derived jet fuel, which it says has since passed key specification tests undertaken by a leading fuel analytical laboratory in order to meet the ASTM D1655 standard for aviation turbine fuel.
For the US Navy contract, 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.
Last month, Amyris Biotechnologies entered into an agreement with Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer and engine manufacturer GE to evaluate the potential of sugar cane-based jet biofuels. If tests prove successful, the partners anticipate using the Amyris No Compromise jet fuel on a demonstration flight in early 2012 of a GE-powered Embraer E-Jet belonging to Brazilian low-cost airline Azul.
Sapphire Energy supplied algae-based jet fuel for the Continental Airlines and Japan Airlines biofuel test flights earlier this year. After the Continental flight, it said its fuel achieved a better mileage than conventional jet kerosene.
In May, the California-based company claimed it will be in a position to supply one million gallons of its biofuel by 2011, increasing to more than 100 million gallons annually by 2018. By 2025, the company predicts it will be producing one billion gallons by 2025, enough to meet around 3% of the United States’ 36 billion gallon renewable fuel standard. Sapphire, which is backed by Bill Gates and the Rockefeller family, said market conditions would dictate how much of that fuel would find its way into commercial aviation use.
Refining technology company UOP, a division of Honeywell, has been heavily involved in producing jet biofuel blends for all the second-generation biofuel test flights to date and has proved a leading player in the development of both commercial and military aviation sustainable jet biofuels.