Navy Launches Algae-Powered Destroyer

by | Nov 18, 2011

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The U.S. Navy sent a destroyer ship powered by algae-based fuel on a 20-hour trip Wednesday, the largest alternative fuel test it has undertaken to date.

Some 20,000 gallons of the fuel were pumped into the test ship (pictured) and powered it overnight from San Diego to Port Hueneme, Calif., reports the Associated Press.

The biofuel used Wednesday was a 50-50 blend of petroleum and hydro-processed algal oil produced by San Francisco-based Solazyme, the AP reports.

The trip forms a key part of the Navy’s plan to next year unveil a small strike group of ships, submarines and aircraft run on alternative fuels, including nuclear power, the AP reports. By 2016 the Navy plans to deploy a “Great Green Fleet” of vessels powered by renewable and low-carbon energy.

In January 2010, Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabu announced several energy targets for the Navy and Marine Corps, of which biofuels are a major component.

The strike force and “Great Green Fleet” constitute two of the goals. The Navy also plans to cut petroleum use in half for 50,000 non-tactical commercial vehicles by 2020, through the phase-in of hybrid, flex fuel and electric vehicles.

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