An alternative fuel that is partially made by algae has been tested as part of a joint effort by the Departments of Defense and Transportation.
The Maritime Administration said the fuel was tested in one of the four engines of the Great Lakes Maritime Academy's training ship State of Michigan
for 170 hours. Researchers measured the fuel’s emissions, efficiency and affect on engine performance. The data are currently being analyzed and the results will be available in February 2012.
The academy said tests of the hydrotreated renewable diesel (HRD) fuel began in September and spanned 17 days for about 170 hours of at-sea time.
The fuel is also being tested at the pier of the school in Traverse City, Michigan.
HRD is made from algae and blended 50 percent with an ultra low-sulfur diesel and a lubricant additive. The academy noted that the algae can be grown on wastewater,
or in a fermentation tank, absorbing carbon dioxide. The crude oil yield
is expected to be higher than from other biofuel sources, such as corn,
and is produced from a non-food stock.
Great Lakes Maritime Academy Superintendent Jerry Achenbach said the school's "smaller vessels have operated on biodiesel fuels for years. We’ve seen the environmental benefits ourselves,” Achenbach said. “It’s an important consideration for the Navy, and we’re happy to help provide the data to make the best decision.”