Navy Flies Truly Green Hornet on Biofuel

John Davis

UPDATE: Please note that it was brought to our attention that we misidentified the biomass-based biofuel being used in this test. This version of the story has been corrected. We apologize for any confusion.

It’s known as the Hornet, but a U.S. Navy F/A-18 can truly add the term green to its moniker after flying the war bird on a 50-50 mix of biofuel and conventional petroleum-based jet fuel.

The Navy made the test flight, the first of its kind with the camelina-based biofuel, at the Naval Air Warfare Center in Patuxent River, Maryland, flying at more than the speed of sound. Montana-based Sustainable Oils, the maker of the camelina biofuels, says the flight marks an important milestone in the use of biofuels in military aircraft:

“The success of the Navy’s Earth Day flight again demonstrates that camelina-based jet fuel meets the quality and performance requirements that these aircraft demand,” said Tom Todaro, CEO of Sustainable Oils. “We look forward to continuing to work with the U.S. military, as well as commercial airlines, to provide the next generation of domestically-produced aviation biofuels that create revenue and jobs in rural areas, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign energy sources.”

According to the U.S. Navy, the Green Hornet performed as engineers expected, successfully completing all aspects of the test flight. Yesterday’s flight won the praise of Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who has provided ongoing leadership in the Navy’s focus on renewable energy and attended the test flight.

“The alternative fuels test program is a significant milestone in the certification and ultimate operational use of biofuels by the Navy and Marine Corps,” said Secretary of the Navy Mabus. “It’s important to emphasize, especially on Earth Day, the Navy’s commitment to reducing dependence on foreign oil as well as safeguarding our environment. Our Navy, alongside industry, the other services and federal agency partners, will continue to be an early adopter of alternative energy sources.”

As you might remember from my post on March 25, the U.S. Air Force flew an A-10 Warthog on a biofuel provided by Sustainable Oils last month.