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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

New fuels?

17 April, 2008
Biodiesel the way ahead? See the following from the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI).
A recent test of Solazyme biodiesel, Soladiesel, through the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI), by request of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), demonstrated that Soladiesel has superior cold weather properties to any commercially available biodiesel. This makes it more suitable for cold weather climates where military bases have been previously unable to use biodiesel. Solazyme, Inc. is a leading biotechnology company that harnesses the power of microalgae to produce clean and scalable high performance oils, biofuels, and 'green' chemicals. Company CEO Jonathan Wolfson will present at the 2008 Worldwide Energy Conference & Trade Show, and will discuss how oils derived from algae can be processed to create high-grade FAME biodiesel, renewable diesel and jet fuels that meet current military specifications. Because of the excellent cold temperature performance and the clean characteristics of the oil, former military fuels specialists note that new algae-based fuels could soon help the DoD to better comply with recently enacted mandates to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and utilize environmentally friendly fuels, including biodiesel.

'The DoD's requested testing of the Soladiesel fuel showed superior performance especially in terms of its cold temperature properties,' said Wolfson. 'Greater performance in cold temperatures means our biodiesel and other algae-based fuels could help the military in remote northern locations like Alaska and North Dakota, as well as in hot climates, while reducing dependence on petroleum. We look forward to continuing to work with the DoD on Soladiesel and other algal based fuels, and are pleased to be presenting at the DESC conference.'

Soladiesel exceeds both the requirements of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) biodiesel standard D6751 and EN 14214, the European standard, which ensures that biodiesel can safely run in any existing diesel engine. A 2008 Ford F450, which was supplied by BioDiesel University, part of the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, was used to demonstrate Solazyme's biofuel at the DESC conference, running on its original, factory-standard diesel engine with no modifications. The truck is powered by B100; that is, 100 percent biodiesel made from 100 percent algae.

R. James Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence and Under -Secretary of the Navy, who arrived at the Conference in the unmodified Ford F450 powered by Soladiesel said, 'While I drive a plug-in hybrid, the military generally doesn't use cars; it drives trucks, ships and planes and today those only run on diesel oil-based fuels. I'm delighted to participate in this worldwide first -- I arrived at the DESC Military Energy Conference in a F450 pick-up fueled completely on ASTM compliant B100 made from domestically produced algal oil. Algae are a natural oil producer and can be refined into all kinds of oil-based fuels. This shows we're on our way to growing our own military fuels right in this country.'

'Solazyme's crude algal oils can be blended with petroleum crude in existing oil refineries and are also optimal for refining into biodiesel, renewable diesel and jet fuel,' Wolfson said. 'Therefore we anticipate helping to diversify and decentralize the geographic sources of oil, thus making oil supplies more secure. In addition, Solazyme's oil has a clear, fast path to market because the algal oil was developed for use within the existing trillion dollar energy infrastructure.'

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