The Green Mile

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The Riverine Command Boat, powered in part by Solazyme of South San Francisco. (Credit: U.S. Navy/Specialist 3rd Class William Jamieson)

That gunboat you see to your left operates on a 50/50 mix of algae-based fuel and diesel.

Rear Admiral Philip Cullom, of the navy's sustainability division, put it this way: "We no longer want to be held hostage by one form of energy such as petroleum."

The US navy plans to run 50% of its fleet on a mix of renewable fuels and nuclear power by 2020.

To that end, the Navy put in an order for 150,000 gallons of algae-based fuel from Solazyme of South San Francisco, also known for its work with Mercedes.

The Air Force has already flown a camelina powered A-10 Thunderbolt II , and the Marine Corps, keen to stop the attacks on its fossil fuel caravans, recently sent Company I, Third Battalion to Afghanistan's Helmand province partially powered with solar.

It's worth noting the US is not the world's super power in bio-fuel. That title belongs to Brazil, in large part because the US got sidetracked with corn-based ethanol. Well, certain parts of the US.  Not California.

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About Rachael Myrow

From KQED’s Bureau in San Jose, Rachael Myrow covers politics, economics, technology, food and culture in a vast region extending from Burlingame to Edenvale to Fremont. This follows more than seven years waking at 3 am to host the daily version of KQED's California Report, broadcast on NPR affiliates throughout the state during NPR's Morning Edition. She still guest hosts for The California Report and Forum, blogs for Bay Area Bites, and files for NPR and PRI’s The World. Before KQED, she worked for Marketplace and KPCC in Los Angeles. Follow @rachaelmyrow

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