Biofuel passes U.S. Navy voyage test

March 21, 2012 at 5:29 PM

SAN FRANCISCO, March 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy is turning to the sea as a fuel source for its ships, experts say, successfully testing an algae-derived fuel on long voyages.

The U.S. Navy frigate fleet ship USS Ford sailed from its home port in Everett, Wash., to San Diego using 25,000 gallons of the algae-based fuel blended in even proportions with standard F-76 military diesel, TG Daily reported Wednesday.

Solazyme, a San Francisco-based company that ferments algae to produce oil that can be refined into fuel, said its Soladeisel fuel performed perfectly on the 1,200-nautical-mile trip.

The Navy reported "there was absolutely no difference, whatsoever, in the operation or performance of the ship" using the algae-derived fuel.

"Feedback from the ship's engineers was favorable; the crew reported that operational performance of the fuel system and gas turbine engines on the 50/50 blend was ... comparable to operations on traditional petroleum F-76," Solazyme confirmed in a statement.

Last December the Navy said it will pay $12 million to purchase a total of 450,000 gallons of biofuels from Solazyme and Louisiana-based Dynamic Fuels, which makes its fuel from used cooking oil and non-food-grade animal fats.

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