Building on its goal of energy independence, the United States Navy recently undertook its “Green Fleet” biofuel tests. Late last year we wrote that the Navy made the largest government purchase of biofuels from Solazyme, with the intention of testing out the fuels’ in the near future. Last month saw the test come to fruition.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, last year’s purchase of 450,000 gallons of biofuel was combined with an additional 450,000 gallons of traditional fuel to create a 50/50 blend for the test. “The biofuel was purchased from Louisiana-based Dynamic Fuels LLC, Dynamic Fuels, LLC, a joint-venture of Tyson Foods, Inc., and Syntroleum Corporation, and algae, produced by Solazyme.” The Navy reports that “surface ships will be powered using 350,000 gallons of hydroprocessed renewable diesel (HRD-76) blended with an equal amount of marine diesel (F-76)” and “Navy aircraft will burn 100,000 gallons of hydroprocessed renewable jet fuel (HRJ-5) blended with aviation fuel (JP-5).” In addition to the biofuel, nuclear power is being employed by some of the ships in the demonstration.
As part of a greater mission laid out in 2009, the Great Green Fleet exercise makes use of the following technologies:
- Solid State Lighting
- Gas Turbine On-Line Water Wash
- Shipboard Energy Dashboard
- Smart Voyage Planning Decision Aid
- Stern Flaps
Three years ago, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus laid out “five aggressive energy goals to reduce the Department of Navy’s (DON’s) consumption of energy, decrease its reliance on foreign sources of oil, and significantly increase its use of alternative energy.” Mabus saw dependence on foreign oil as a “ significant military vulnerability.” With news that American dependence on Saudi oil is on the rise, the Green Fleet demonstration may prove timely.