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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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RE: Mmmm...
By rika13 on 6/24/2011 8:11:07 AM , Rating: 3
# of carbons per molecule (from wikipedia)

Diesel: 8-21
Kerosene: 6-16
Gasoline: 4-14
Jet fuel: 5-16 depends on specfic fuel

Avgas has lower and more uniform vapor pressure, has lead, which is banned in mogas, and the ethanol in most mogas is not approved for use in aviation engines.

RE: Mmmm...
By JediJeb on 6/24/2011 5:42:33 PM , Rating: 2
Correct. At our lab we do testing of soil and water samples in areas where fuels are spilled and there is a difference between diesel, kerosene, mineral spirits, ect. Each fuel has its own "finger print" used to identify it. If the sample is pristine enough you can even differentiate the brand sometimes.

RE: Mmmm...
By Bad-Karma on 6/29/2011 12:10:21 AM , Rating: 2
Those fuels are similar enough that most jets can burn them with little or no trouble.

When I used to be assigned to B-52 we put kerosene and diesel through them on a few occasions when we were on remote airfields that didn't have jet fuel. It ran acceptably and got us to our destination, but you wouldn't believe the amount of smoke we left behind us.

Should of seen the look on the guy's face driving the kerosene delivery truck! That and it would usually clean out out the communities entire heating fuel supply for a few days.

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