The U.S. Navy deployed a destroyer ship powered by algae-based biofuel for a 20-hour trip on Wednesday, its largest alternative fuel experiment to date.
The Paul F. Foster, a decommissioned destroyer now used for experimental purposes, departed from San Diego and successfully arrived in Port Hueneme, Calif. after being filled with 20,000 gallons of algae fuel, reports the Associated Press.
The test voyage was deemed a success, and the Paul F. Foster even arrived three hours ahead of schedule, docking in Port Hueneme after only 17 hours at sea, reports The Navy Times.
The experiment is part of a commitment by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to deploy a strike group completely composed of alternatively-powered ships by 2016, The Navy Times reported earlier this month. Next year, the Navy plans to demonstrate a small strike group of ships, destroyers, cruisers, aircraft, submarines and a carrier powered by alternative fuels, including nuclear power, reports The Maritime Executive.
The biofuel used in the Paul F. Foster, which contains 50 percent petroleum and 50 percent hydro-processed algal oil, came courtesy of San Francisco-based Solazyme Inc. – which also provided algae-based fuel to United Airlines for recent biofuel flights.
The fuel was used to power one of the ship’s propulsion turbines and the ship’s service turbine – dramatically cutting back on carbon output. The Navy said the destroyer performed the same as when it runs on fossil fuel, reports The Navy Times.