US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus ordered 450,000 gallons of biofuel from Dynamic Fuels, LLC and Solazyme. Dynamic Fuels is a 50-50 joint venture between Tyson Foods and Syntroleum Corporation, and Solazyme is a West Coast producer of algae-based fuel. The bulk of the fuel will come from Dynamic Fuels and will be used to power Navy ships while the Solazyme fuel will power aircraft during a maritime demonstration in the Pacific, which is held every other year. Dynamic Fuels was first reported in Tech Flash on July 25, 2008, and again on July 27, 2010. Dynamic Fuels converts fats including beef tallow, pork lard, chicken fat and greases into diesel fuel.

“This fuel purchase furthers President Obama’s goal to achieve more energy security by finding ways to lessen our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels,” says Mabus. “As part of this goal, in March of 2011, the President directed the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy and the Department of the Navy to come up with a domestic biofuels industry capable of producing drop-in substitutes in a geographically dispersed national way and to be a competitive biofuel industry.”

While this purchase fuels a demonstration to show the viability of using biofuels, Mabus pointed out this is still R&D. “Well, if you look at it on a per-gallon price, it’s about $26 per gallon. If you look at it blended with the 50-50 blend of petroleum, we’re going to end up paying about $15 a gallon for the demonstration that we use.

“But this is still R&D,” adds Mabus. “It’s half of what we were paying this time last year, and it shows that as the market develops, you’re going to see costs come down.

“Dynamic, the fuel that it’s producing, is already being used on a pretty regular basis by KLM, Finnair, Alaska Air, by Thompson airlines,” adds Mabus.