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MH 60S Seahawk test flight using algae-derived biofuel
Helicopter flew on 50/50 blend of jet fuel and algae-based biofuel

Biofuels are being studied and tested in commercial and military aviation widely. Biofuels currently in development are designed as drop in replacements for existing jet fuels with no modifications needed to engines or other systems.

The biofuels, however, do have to be mixed with regular aviation fuels. Generally, the biofuel is mixed 50/50 with normal jet fuel. The USAF has been testing jet aircraft with biofuels and certified its first jet, the Globemaster III to operate on up to 50% biofuel.

The U.S. Navy and Solazyme have announced that a successful test flight of a MH 60S Seahawk helicopter running on a 50/50 blend of algae-based biofuel.

The fuel mixture used in the test is known as Solajet HRJ-5 Jet fuel. Solazyme claims that this is the first military aircraft in history to fly on an algal-based jet fuel. The company also notes that the flight preceded the ASTM preliminary approval for military aircraft to operate on biofuels from algae and other renewable sources.

“We applaud ASTM International and the ATA and CAAFI for their efforts to advance the world’s newest and most sustainable fuels for aviation.  The aviation industry has demonstrated a strong leadership position in fuel supply diversification and sustainability, and today’s announcement is a major step in its efforts to commercialize advanced low-carbon biofuels,” said Jonathan Wolfson, CEO, Solazyme.

“Solazyme is honored to be working with the US Navy and DLA-Energy in driving forward the testing and certification process for advanced biofuels. The successful flight demonstration of the Seahawk helicopter on a 50/50 blend of SolajetHRJ-5 and petroleum-derived jet fuel marks a significant milestone in this process, and reinforces the Navy’s commitment to securing our nation’s energy supply.”

Solazyme is the only company currently providing the Navy with biofuel. The company has previously conducted tests of its Soladiesel fuel in Navy Riverine Command Boat demonstrations.

Biofuels are part of the process the Pentagon wants to consider with regards to energy consumption with weapon systems.

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Who cares?
By lowsidex2 on 6/23/2011 3:52:55 PM , Rating: 2
Creating fuel from algae is cool and all but flying a helicopter or jetliner on it is not special. Jet engines will run on just about anything flammable, including ordinary car gasoline. I just don't see a news worthy story here.

RE: Who cares?
By Mitch101 on 6/23/2011 7:06:00 PM , Rating: 3
I get where your coming from but Its a start and Im glad to see it being put to use instead of corn.

Of all the alternatives Algae excites me the most.

Some companies/public utilities pay to have algae removed. In fact algae growth is a problem for some industries.

Algae can be produced anywhere so its not like oil where it needs to be discovered then removed from the ground then needs to be transported to refinery then from refinery to gas stations.

If algae spilled in the gulf no one would have cared or probably bothered to clean it up.

Algae is not a food source for humans unlike corn which farmers can price gouge and corn is heavily used for livestock we dont need to increase production if we use algae over something like corn.

Any country can make it so any country willing can become independent of oil.

RE: Who cares?
By shin0bi272 on 6/23/2011 11:19:07 PM , Rating: 2
you should research the CFPP of algae fuels... its not pretty.

RE: Who cares?
By Bad-Karma on 6/24/2011 4:57:23 AM , Rating: 1
A lot of people don't know this but regular diesel can start growing algae if it sits long enough. That and it loses quite a bit of its cetane rating the longer it sits. I don't know if that from the algae or some other another process.

In fact if you want to get better MPGs then it actually has a noticeable affect to fill up from stations that have a very high turn over with their tanks.

I've noticed a considerable difference when I take on diesel at a truck stop vs. a local station with one or two diesel pumps.

My F-550 has two frame rail 65gal tanks plus a 50gal tool/tank in the bed. If I top the whole thing off then and it sits for a couple of months then it really acts sluggish unless you put an additive in the tanks.

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