U.S. Navy Completes Sea Trial with Renewable Diesel

Joanna Schroeder

The Navy is advancing its commitment to renewable fuels. Recently a Navy ship operated on a 100 percent drop-in renewable diesel fuel produced by Applied Research Associates (ARA) and Chevron Lummus Global. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division’s (NSWC PHD) Self Defense Test Ship (SDTS) completed final-phase testing of ReadiDiesel, a 100 percent  renewable biofuel.

The ex-Paul F. Foster anchored off the southern coast of California. Paul F. Foster serves as the new Self Defense Test Ship for Naval Surface Warfare Center. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy M. Black/Released)

The ex-Paul F. Foster anchored off the southern coast of California. Paul F. Foster serves as the new Self Defense Test Ship for Naval Surface Warfare Center. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy M. Black/Released)

One objective of the test was to demonstrate that ReadiDiesel is a drop-in replacement for petroleum-sourced F-76 marine diesel, meaning that it requires no blending with petroleum-derived fuels, equipment modifications or operational modifications by the crew. The second objective was to ensure that ReadiDiesel performs equally to, or better than, existing petroleum-derived fuels.

The SDTS took on approximately 18,000 gallons of the renewable fuel in San Diego, California, and the renewable diesel fuel powered the Self Defense Test Ship’s General Electric LM-2500 gas-turbine engine and a Rolls Royce 501 K-17 gas-turbine generator.

We are excited to work with the U.S. Navy as it takes this important step toward the use of 100 percent drop-in renewable diesel fuel in its ships,” said Chuck Red, vice president of fuels development for ARA. “Our renewable fuels continue to prove their viability as a 100 percent replacement for petroleum in diesel and jet fuel applications, and we look forward to the opportunity to work with our Navy partners to support their operational needs. Our goal remains to be able to provide an alternative, unblended renewable fuel that increases our nation’s energy security at prices competitive with petroleum.”

According to ARA, the test lasted nearly 12 hours while the ship traveled along the Southern California Coast to Port Hueneme. Navy engineers monitored the performance of the gas-turbine engines and generators while running on petroleum F-76 prior to taking on the ReadiDiesel to establish a baseline for comparison. While operating on the renewable diesel, the ship successfully completed multiple engine starts and speed changes. There were no mechanical, operational or qualitative differences.

The data collected from the trial will be fully analyzed and the results summarized in a final report. Prior to testing aboard the SDTS, ReadiDiesel went through fit-for-purpose, component, and full-scale engine testing. The component and full-scale engine testing included performance tests to determine the combustion quality and emissions. In all, ARA provided 79,000 gallons of ReadiDiesel for the test program.

advance biofuels, aviation biofuels, military, renewable diesel