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U.S. Navy Makes Biggest-Ever Biofuel Buy

January 2, 2012 in Uncategorized by rich  |  No Comments

‘Green Strike Group’ Prompts $12 Million Buy

Of Biofuels from Dynamic Fuels and Solazyme

U.S. Navy plans for a “Green Strike Group” with biofuel-powered ships and aircraft have prompted the biggest government biofuel purchase ever: 450,000 gallons from Dynamic Fuels, a joint venture of Tyson Foods and Syntroleum Corp.

The U.S. Navy set a biofuel speed record using a Solazyme algae blend on December 9 on this LCAC (Landing Craft, Air Cushion)

The U.S. Navy set a biofuel speed record using a Solazyme algae blend on December 9 on this LCAC (Landing Craft, Air Cushion)

Dynamic will produce the Navy fuel in Geismar, La. using U.S.-sourced yellow grease (used cooking oil) and tailored algal oil from South San Francisco’s Solazyme as feedstocks. Deliverables for May 2012 include 100,000 gallons of jet fuel (Hydro-treated Renewable JP- 5 or HRJ-5) and 350,000 gallons of marine distillate fuel (Hydro-Treated Renewable F-76 or HRD-76), Dynamic says.

The Dynamic Fuels contract from DLA-Energy (Defense Logistic Agency) is worth just over $12 million. Solazyme was awarded $10.2 million last year toward the development of algae-based fuels.

The Navy is garnering increasing attention for its biofuels work. Just this past Friday, its LCAC 91 (Landing Craft, Air Cushion) amphibious transport vessel set a biofuel speed record off of Panama City, Fla., reaching 50 knots on a 50/50 blend of hydro-processed algal oil and petroleum F-76. Previous trials involved a retired destroyer and Boeing F/A-18 supersonic jet.

‘Wright Brothers-Moment’

“Our Navy is working to be resilient to any potential energy future,” Rear Adm. Philip Cullom said in a Friday release. “Pursuing sustainable resources, such as alternative fuels that are drop-in replacements, assures our performance and mobility while protecting us from the volatility of the fossil fuel market.

“This demonstration is another Wright Brothers-moment for the Navy,” Cullom said. We have shown that we can achieve more than 50 knots on the water and Mach 1.7 in the air – all on biofuel blends.” Cullom is director and chief of the Navy’s Operations Energy and Environmental Readiness Division.

Data was collected on engine torque, acceleration rates, craft speed, fuel flow rates, propeller pitch, compressor discharge pressure, and inlet and exhaust gas temperature, said Richard Leung navy fuels engineering manager with the Naval Sea Systems Command.

“This award clearly demonstrates that we’re building momentum for the sale and use of our renewable fuels,” Dynamic Fuels management director Jeff Bigger, said in his firm’s announcement. “We’ve previously provided the U.S. military with fuel for testing,” Bigger said. “This contract confirms they recognize the performance and environmental advantages of our fuel since they’re coming back for more and are asking for a much larger volume.”

The U.S. Navy set a biofuel speed record using a Solazyme algae blend on December 9 on this LCAC (Landing Craft, Air Cushion)

“This is an historic contract,” said Solazyme CEO Jonathan Wolfson.

The biofuel blend is a true drop-in: “There are no modifications required to the ship, aircraft or fuel distribution system,” says Rick Kamin, naval fuels and lubricants cross functional team lead. Full qualifications are expected in 2012, following evaluation of the renewable fuel, Kamin told F&F, “under the full spectrum of potential conditions the Navy could possible operate.

“Testing will look at both the impact of low temperature and high temperature operations,” Kamin says.

The Navy’s Green Strike Group is to deploy in 2012. For 2016? “The Great Green Fleet.”

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