DoT Algal Fuel Test Results Show Potential
(Algae Industry Magazine) The Maritime Administration (MARAD) of the U.S. Department of Transportation has released its analysis of a test conducted with algae-based biofuel on one of its large commercial-size vessels. This research used marine engines aboard the Great Lakes Maritime Academy training ship, the TS State of Michigan, to measure algal biofuel performance and emissions reduction impacts. The project is part of a joint effort by the Departments of Defense and Transportation to reduce the nation’s dependence on petroleum.
The main objective of this project was to test algal-derived hydrotreated renewable diesel (HRD) fuel, currently being tested by the U.S. Navy for consideration as a “drop-in” fuel, in a commercial type shipboard application. The fuel, which was provided by the Navy, was tested in one of the vessel’s engines for more than 400 hours. Researchers measured the fuel’s emissions, efficiency and effect on engine performance.
…Although the Navy is laboratory testing the fuel on diesel engines as part of the Qualification Protocol, this was the first full-scale ship platform test of the HRD renewable fuel in a shipboard diesel generator over multiple days of operation with pre- and post-test material condition assessments, performance, endurance and emissions testing.
…After 17 underway days and 31 pier-side test days of operating Number 4 SSDG engine on the 50/50 blend fuel, the engine was inspected and found to be in good operational condition.
…The UCR report concludes that the 50/50 blend test fuel produces lower measured emissions of NOx, CO, CO2, and Particulate Matter (PM).
…The conclusion of the Service Representative was: “After all the inspections were done I did not see anything abnormal. The effects of the biofuel were the same as running on Number 2 ultra low sulfur diesel.”
After review of the operating data, material condition reports, and from onsite observation, it appears that the 50/50 blend test fuel appeared to perform better than neat ULSD. Visual inspection of exhaust emissions from the SSDGs operating at the same load, emission from Number 4 SSDG appeared to be clearer than that of the others. The engine parts examined were in a condition consistent with engine parts of a similar engine age.
… Detailed results of the test and a complete report on the study is available online for review or downloading at: http://www.marad.dot.gov/documents/MARAD_ALT_FUEL_FINAL_REPORT_(REVISED_3-22-12).pdf