Nothing Says Green Like Bio-Fueled War Machines

South SF company delivers algae-derived jet fuel to U.S. Navy

By Jackson West
|  Monday, Jul 19, 2010  |  Updated 5:15 PM PDT
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Solazyme's algae-derived jet fuel passed all the Navy's tests, and now will actually power real planes -- for a couple of hours, at least.

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A "Top Gun" sequel could be a lot greener thanks to a Bay Area company.

The company is called Solazyme, which is biofuel start-up based in South San Francisco. Solazyme just shipped its first batch of renewable jet fuel to the United States Navy.

The company creates fuel by growing algae, which is then processed into a number of oil products, including jet fuel.

Earlier in the year, the Defense Advance Research Projects Administration announce that the armed forces were going to begin large-scale production of such fuels.

The Navy is looking to replace half of its fuel needs with renewable biofuels by 2020 in an effort to reduce dependence on oil imports.

It's also intended to reduce the environmental impact of military operations like delivering high-explosives to the four corners of the earth.

Algae fuel does not reduce total emissions, but since the growing algae absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, is close to carbon-neutral.

Solazyme shipped a total of 1,500 gallons, which would get an F-14 Tomcat from Phoenix to Portland, or a little over 1,000 miles.

Jackson West says nothing says "environmentally conscious" like bio-fueled war machines.

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