National carrier J.B. Hunt has committed to burning algae biodiesel in its semi-trucks.
This post on the FleetOwner blog says that after successfully testing 20 and 50 percent blends of SunEco Energy’s biodiesel, made from algae oil, J.B. Hunt found it reduced emissions by more than 80 percent without any loss of power:
“Producing renewable fuel supplies from algae grown in American ponds is an intriguing new option,” noted Gary Whicker, senior vice president of engineering for J.B. Hunt, in a press statement. “Our initial experience with their algae-based biodiesel is promising, and we are excited about the opportunity to work … towards a lower cost, less carbon intensive, and more secure energy supply for our business.”
I’ve talked about the potential for algae as a vehicle fuel stock in this space before – just last year in fact – but I didn’t think we’d be seeing it put through its paces in trucking this soon. And frankly, I shouldn’t be surprised that J.B. Hunt of all carriers is forging ahead with a plan to use algae-based biodiesel in its trucks, for this is a carrier long known for doing things differently – a hallmark of its late founder, Johnnie Bryan Hunt.
While the post does point out that algae biodiesel is still some time from commercial viability, the fact that a billion dollar carrier like J.B. Hunt is taking on a project like this shows that someone sure thinks that profitability running algae biodiesel can’t be that far away.