Algae Biodiesel Could Fuel the Friendly Skies

John Davis

Biodiesel maker Solazyme, which uses algae as its feedstock for the truly green fuel, has announced that its variety of biodiesel is good enough for the airline industry.

Back on June 11th, I told you how Solazyme’s algae-based biodiesel now meets the strict American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D-975 specifications… the first algal-biodiesel to meet the same standard set for all regular diesel. Now, according to this story from, Solazyme has developed an algal-based jet fuel that passed another rigorous standard that will help the company enter the jet-fuel market:

The announcement marked the first time Solazyme discussed the jet-fuel market publicly, which has attracted a slew of companies developing fuels using a variety of plants, from jatropha to soybeans. Solazyme previously talked about selling its algal oils to biodiesel, food and cosmetic makers…

The jet-fuel market presents a lucrative opportunity as rising crude-oil prices pressure airlines to look for alternatives. Fuel costs account for about 40 percent of the airline industry’s expenses, according to John Heimlich, vice president and chief economist at the Air Transport Association of America.

Solazyme sent samples to the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, where the lab found it met the ASTM D1655 standard for aviation turbine fuel.

Company officials believe they can produce the fuel for $40-80 a barrel… quite a savings considering the current cost of petroleum oil.