Navy ship runs on 100% drop-in renewable diesel

August 8, 2016 |

In California, for the first time ever a Navy ship has operated on a 100 percent 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.

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 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.

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