Navy Seahawk Helicopter Flies with Algae

The US Navy has successfully flown an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter test flight using a 50/50 blend of biojet fuel using Solazyme’s Solajet HRJ-5, derived 100 percent from algae. This test flight, which took place on June 20, marks the first military aircraft ever to fly on algal-based biojet fuel. Just last week, ASTM International gave preliminary specs and approval for biojet fuels derived from renewable feedstocks including algae. Formal approval is expected sometime in July.

“We applaud ASTM International and the ATA and CAAFI for their efforts to advance the world’s newest and most sustainable fuels for aviation,” said Jonathan Wolfson, CEO, Solazyme. “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.”

He continued by noting that Solazyme is honored to be working with the US Navy and DLA-Energy to drive forward the certification and approvals needed for advanced biofuels to play a major role in aviation. “The successful flight demonstration of the Seahawk helicopter on a 50/50 blend of Solajet®HRJ-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,” added Wolfson.

Solazyme has a partnership with Honeywell UOP to refine the fuel and has been working with them since 2009 on various US military contracts. The drop-in fuel requires no modifications to current engine technology or military logistics infrastructure.

3 thoughts on “Navy Seahawk Helicopter Flies with Algae

  1. I don’t know whether to be impressed or not. The oil we now use also came from algae — except it was algae that grew millions of years ago.

    What amount of time makes the difference between a “good” algal-based fuel such as Solajet HRJ-5, and a “bad” algal-based fuel such as petroleum?

    I’m curious, how much does a gallon of HRJ-5 cost? The Air Force recently did flight tests with a biomass-based jet fuel that cost $30 per gallon.

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