A U.S. Navy ship is being powered by 100-percent renewable diesel fuel – the first of its kind, according to the fuel makers.

The Self Defense Test Ship last week completed the trial run powered by a renewable diesel fuel called ReadiDiesel. The alternative fuel is being produced by fuel makers Applied Research Associates and Chevron Lummus Global, and tested by the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Port Hueneme, Calif.

Because it’s a drop-in replacement fuel, it doesn’t require any equipment modifications or operational modifications by the crew, making it easier to switch from petroleum-sourced F-76 standard marine diesel to renewable diesel. The objective of the test was to demonstrate that ReadiDiesel performs equally to, or better than, existing petroleum-derived fuels.

The ship fueled up for the test with about 18,000 gallons of ReadiDiesel in San Diego.

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The test ship is powered by a General Electric LM-2500 gas-turbine engine and a Rolls Royce 501 K-17 gas-turbine generator.

The test period lasted about 12 hours along the coastline from San Diego to Port Hueneme. The ship successfully completed multiple engine starts and speed changes during the test run. There were no mechanical, operational or qualitative differences when operating on ReadiDiesel, the fuel makers said.

The Navy previously set a goal that by 2020, 50 percent of its total energy consumption will come from alternative sources. General Motors is working with the Navy to develop hydrogen-powered unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs).

Environmental Leader