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US Navy completes sea trial with ARA’s 100% drop-in renewable diesel fuel

A Navy ship has, for the first time, operated on a 100% drop-in renewable diesel fuel. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division’s (NSWC PHD) Self Defense Test Ship (SDTS) completed final-phase testing of a 100% drop-in renewable diesel fuel as part of the Navy’s MILSPEC qualification program. ReadiDiesel was developed by Applied Research Associates (ARA) and Chevron Lummus Global, as a drop-in replacement for petroleum F-76 marine diesel. ReadiDiesel is a 100% renewable biofuel. (Earlier post.)

The SDTS took on approximately 18,000 gallons of ReadiDiesel in San Diego, California. The objective of this particular test was twofold: first, 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; and second, to ensure that this renewable fuel performs equally to, or better than, existing petroleum-derived fuels.

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.

The ex-Paul F. Foster (EDD-964, Spruance-class destroyer) leaving Port Hueneme on 21 November 2013. The ex-Paul F. Foster has served as the Self Defense Test Ship for Naval Surface Warfare Center since 2003. (US Navy photo by Carl Friedlander) Click to enlarge.

The test period lasted approximately 12 hours along the Southern California Coast, while enroute from San Diego 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 100% ReadiDiesel, the ship successfully completed multiple engine starts and speed changes. There were no mechanical, operational or qualitative differences when operating on ReadiDiesel.

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.

ReadiDiesel, termed Catalytic Hydrothermolysis Conversion Diesel (CHCD-76) by the Navy, is a military grade drop-in replacement for traditional F-76 that is produced from fats, oils, and greases by the Biofuels ISOCONVERSION process.

The Biofuel ISOCONVERSION Process comprises:

  • ARA’s Catalytic Hydrothermolysis (CH) process for the conversion of plant oils into a high quality crude oil intermediate. The technology is proven in mature pilot systems. A US patent was granted to ARA in 2010 on the CH process.

  • CLG’s ISOCONVERSION Catalysts efficiently upgrade the crude oil intermediate produced by the CH reactor into on-specification, finished fuels. The final products are all fungible and nearly identical to petroleum-derived fuels.

ReadiDiesel has the same molecular composition, boiling range distribution, and physical and energy density as petroleum fuels while producing lower emissions than the petroleum counterpart. ReadiDiesel also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 80% compared to petroleum.

The Department of the Navy has pursued introducing drop-in renewable diesel to its operational supply as a means to increase operational flexibility and energy security. Alternatives to traditional petroleum can equip mission planners and commanders with more options, as well make the service’s supply lines more secure.

The project was a collaborative effort involving the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Energy Office (DASN Energy), Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP), Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), NSWC PHD and NSWC Philadelphia Division.

Each organization that provided support to the test is involved in either Department of Defense or Department of the Navy energy initiatives. The SDTS is an asset of NSWC PHD. An all-civilian Port Hueneme crew of approximately 40 personnel operated the vessel while underway. Approximately 7 additional personnel rode the vessel in support of the test.

In addition to the MILSPEC certification of ReadiDiesel, the Navy continues to test ARA and Chevron Lummus Global’s ReadiJet as a 100% drop-in renewable jet fuel. (Earlier post.) Fit for purpose, component, and full engine testing are concluding, and flight testing in a Navy EA-18G Growler is planned for early fall.

ARA and Chevron Lummus Global are currently engineering the first commercial-scale Biofuels ISOCONVERSION refinery for its licensee, UrbanX Renewables Group. The 5,000 barrel-per-day refinery will be located in Southern California and will produce renewable diesel, jet, and naphtha from ultra-low carbon intensity waste oil feedstocks. The Biofuels ISOCONVERSION process can use waste such as yellow grease from rendering facilities, used cooking oil, and brown grease recovered from grease traps as feedstocks.



From the ARA's website;

The advantages of ReadiDiesel

-Physical and energy density is the same as petroleum diesel
-6% more miles per gallon than HEFA and FT diesels
-12% more miles per gallon than biodiesel
-As with petroleum diesel, pour and cloud points can be adjusted to meet environmental requirements for summer diesel, winter diesel, and even arctic diesel

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