Algae-based Fuel Tests
Many different kinds of algae-based fuels – from biodiesel to gasoline substitutes to jet fuel – have been successfully tested in a range of vehicles and commercial and military aircraft. In each and every test, algae-based fuels have performed flawlessly, and met or exceed all performance criteria.
In January 2008, algae-based biodiesel underwent road testing for the first time ever when California-based company Solazyme announced it had driven a factory-standard diesel Mercedes C320 on its algae-based biodiesel. The demonstration marked the first time that any vehicle had been powered by algae-based fuels.
In April 2008, a heavy-duty vehicle ran on 100 percent biodiesel made from 100 percent algae. A 2008 Ford F450 was used to show that heavy-duty trucks, including the type of those used by the military, can operate on algae-based diesel. The successful test was the first time that a heavy duty vehicle had operated with algae-based fuels. The algae-based fuel used in the test was produced by California-based Solazyme.
In January 2009, Continental Airlines made history with the first-ever commercial test flight using algae-based jet fuel as part of a biofuel blend. A Boeing 737 took off from Houston International Airport with a biofuel blend consisting of 50 percent biofuels and 50 percent traditional jet fuel in one of its two engines. The biofuel blend included components derived from algae. The algal oil was provided by California-based Sapphire Energy and refined into jet fuel by UOP for the historic test flight.
In late January 2009, Japan Airlines conducted a one-hour flight test of a Boeing 747 using a 50 percent blend of traditional and renewable fuels in one of its engines.. The renewable fuel blend used in the test included algae oil supplied by Sapphire Energy and processed by UOP, a subsidiary of Honeywell.
In September 2009, an algae-based substitute for gasoline was successfully tested in a 2008 Toyota Prius plug-in electric hybrid during a two-week, cross-country tour that spanned more than 3,750 miles. The algae-based gasoline used in the tour was produced by California-based Sapphire Energy.
In October 2010, the US Navy conducted a full-power demonstration of a 50-50 blend of algae-based diesel and traditional fuel in a Riverine Command Boat at its naval base in Norfolk, Virginia. The test was the first time that algae-based fuels had ever been used in a military vessel. Solazyme provided the fuel.
Building on its previous successful test of algae-based diesel in one of its vessels, the US Navy successfully demonstrated a 50-50 blend of traditional jet fuel and algae-based jet fuel in a MH-60S Seahawk helicopter. This event marked the first time in history that a military aircraft had flown on algae-based jet fuel. The domestically-produced, algae-based jet fuel used in the test was made by the California-based company Solazyme.
United Airlines became the first carrier to fly a revenue-generating passenger flight on biofuel derived from algae. The Boeing 737-824 flew from Houston International Airport to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on November 7, 2011.
The US Navy’s Paul H. Foster destroyer took a 20 hour trip along the California coast, from San Diego to Port Hueneme, consuming 20,000 gallons of algae-based fuel, becoming the first ship of its class to be powered by algae-derived biofuel.
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