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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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dont run this in cold weather
By shin0bi272 on 6/23/2011 11:21:23 PM , Rating: 2
IIRC the cfpp or cold filter plugging point of algae is the highest of any fuel to date. The algae fuel congeals at a temp around 70deg F... so might wanna think about that before the green movement causes more deaths.

RE: dont run this in cold weather
By xyzCoder on 6/24/2011 1:23:40 AM , Rating: 2
Dang, trolls show up everywhere and on every topic. Just so long as the person has an attachment to the alternative (eg: big nasty ol' oil/gas), they will try any and all arguments they can think of to avoid the conclusion they wish to avoid.

Case in point: the hydrocarbons created by algae are longer and therefore they congeal at fairly high temperatures.

Ask any organic chemist (or petro-chemist) and he/she will explain how easy (and cheap, energetically) it is to shorten long carbon chains (refineries, anyone?).

So, yah: algae makes a lot of sense and should give us awesome results - not that I trust any of this establishment of ours to get such results when they would much rather stick to the status quo.

RE: dont run this in cold weather
By JediJeb on 6/24/2011 5:57:31 PM , Rating: 2
Very true and I am sure the Navy has already though of that. It isn't like they would put something in million dollar aircraft that would crash it as soon a cool weather hits.

You just have to crack the initial fuel stock into shorter length carbon chains and convert any hydroxyl groups to esters to lower the freezing point and viscosity of the fuel.

RE: dont run this in cold weather
By joe4324 on 6/26/2011 12:12:20 AM , Rating: 2
70f? I've on several occasions burned pure hydrogenated oil and lard in my cars. I have heated veg-oil tanks that get to around 170F with a coolant loop. And its hose-in-hose all the way to the motor and it runs like a dream. Even in January when its -15F outside and windy. You just have to have the right system to handle it. If I can do it on my budget and skill level anyone can.

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