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Navy Looking At Biofuels

The U.S. military uses a lot of fuel. The Navy powers its aircraft and ships with petroleum based products. It certainly behooves the Defense Department and the Services to invest in other sources of fuel. One area that is starting to receive more interest is biofuels.

Two companies, Solazyme and Sustainable Oils, were awarded contracts to explore making fuel from algae and oilseed plants. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has also invested in algae based fuel. The two contracts are worth about $11 million.

Both seem to be viable sources of fuel and the Navy wants to make sure that the result of their different refining processes will be capable of safely powering an airplane. Obviously once the fuel is tested as being viable the next focus of the research will be to move to a cost effective production and refining process. Ultimately the fuel has to cost near what it does for a gallon of oil based products. The other goal would be an ability to mass produce the product so as to support military needs. The awarding of the contracts indicate that the Defense Department is very interested in this product and process.

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