Camelina Biofuel Powers Hydroplane Test

This week, the Boeing U-787 unlimited hydroplane became the world’s first to be powered by 100% biofuel during a demonstration run by hydroplane driver Chip Hanauer at the annual Chevrolet Cup at Seafair.

The majority (85%) of the biofuel blend was refined from the energy crop camelina, grown by Targeted Growth, as well as jatropha (14%) and algae oil (1%). This same biofuel mixture helped to power the test flight of a Japan Airlines Boeing 747-300 in January 2009.

The U-787 boat ran four successful test runs throughout the Seafair weekend, each with a greater percentage of biofuel, culminating in the 100% biofuel run. Hanauer tested the engine’s performance during normal operating conditions, which included quick accelerations, decelerations and cornering in a variety of water conditions.

No modifications to the hydroplane or its engine were required for this biofuel mix, which is a ‘drop-in’ replacement for petroleum-based fuel. The boat’s engine has the same fuel and fuel performance requirements as a commercial airliner.


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