New Algae-Based Aviation Fuel Passes Key ASTM Tests for Jet Fuel

jet landing photo

photo: Dr Wendy T.L. via flickr

There are a number of companies trying to produce a biofuel alternative to petroleum-based aviation fuels, and a number of airlines have made biofuel test flights using various mixtures of biofuels, but none are yet available in commercial quantities. Another milemarker has been passed on the road to greener aviation (and for the moment let's overlook the bigger question of whether aviation could ever really be green) Algae-innovator Solazyme has announced that its bio-kerosene has passed the ASTM's requirements for "Aviation Turbine Fuel". Solazyme says that its microbial-derived jet fuel has passed the eleven "most challenging specifications needed to meet the ASTM D1655 standard for Aviation Turbine Fuel." Areas tested include density, thermal oxidative stability, flashpoint, freezing point, distillation and viscosity.

Test Passed, But Commercial Production Isn't Imminent
As the original Scientific American article article states, "don't expect this fuel to be showing up at airports anytime soon." Solazyme doesn't yet have the infrastructure to produce this fuel at the scale needed to make enough of it for airlines, and can't produce it cheaply enough (even with current high prices of conventional aviation fuels).

via :: Solazyme and :: Scientific American
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