Solazyme fuel tested by military

By Erin Voegele | June 28, 2011

California-based Solazyme Inc. recently announced the U.S. Navy successfully demonstrated its algae-derived jet fuel in a MH-60S Seahawk helicopter. The test flight was completed with a 50/50 blend of Solazyme’s algae-based SolajetHRJ-5 fuel and traditional petroleum-derived jet fuel.

“This marks the first military aircraft to fly on an algal-based jet fuel in history,” said Solazyme in a statement. “This test flight preceded the historic announcement by ASTM International that it has preliminary approved biofuel from algae and other renewable sources to be blended with traditional jet fuel on commercial flights worldwide, the formal approval expected sometime in July.”

According to Solazyme, it is the only company to date to provide the U.S. Navy with microbially-derived advanced aviation and marine fuel. The company also states that Honeywell UOP was the refinery partner on the jet fuel delivery, and has been working with Solazyme since 2009 on multiple contracts with the U.S. military.

Rear Adm. Phil Cullom spoke about the importance of alternative fuel sources in a video Solazyme posted online regarding the annocement. “If you have alternatives other than petroleum, then you’re never beholden to just one type of fuel, and those additional alternatives give you flexibility,” he said in the video.

“Solazyme is honored to be working with the US Navy and DLA-Energy in driving forward the testing and certification process for advanced biofuels,” said Solazyme CEO Jonathan Wolfson. “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.”

The company was also recently selected to receive the San Francisco Business Times Cleantech and Sustianability Award in the Fuels, Chemicals and Specialty Products category. The award recognizes top industry leaders in green business, cleantech, energy conservation and alternative energy.

“We are honored to be recognized by the San Francisco Business Times,” said Solazyme co-founder and President Harrison Dillon. “Solazyme is committed to creating renewable tailored oils in a scalable, reliable, and cost effective manner to help reduce our dependence on petroleum and other oils that are economically and environmentally unsustainable.”