U.S. Navy Deploys First Biofuel-Powered Fleet

by Dion Boyd

An intriguing article posted on The Guardian by the Associated Press on January 21, 2016 examines the U.S. Navy’s first attempt at constructing it’s highly anticipated “green fleet” by launching their first ecofriendly carrier strike group. The group is powered partly by a 10% to 90% ratio of biofuel to petroleum. The “Great Green Fleet” is the title of this project and aims to launch a force of naval ships, planes, and submarines that are powered entirely by biofuels. The navy began testing its first green fleet in 2012 and plans to have it ready for launch sometime in the year 2016. [http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/apr/20/us-navy-green]

The biomass used to fuel this fleet of carriers is claimed to be a mix made from beef fat. The implementation of biomass as a fuel is a critical accomplishment for the Navy, as it will endow them with the ability to terminate all relationships with foreign oil producers as part of a national security strategy. The biomass fuel used by the navy is considered to be a “drop-in” which means that it can either be directly blended with petroleum products or supplemented for them all together without having to change the infrastructure of the machine or pipe that is consuming the fuel. This is important because using a fuel that is a drop-in means an industry does not have to spend additional funds on changing these machine infrastructures. According to a post on BiofuelsDigest by Jim Lane, the navy paid a total of $2.05 per gallon for 77 million gallons of biofuel, which is a lot better of a deal than the $3.03 per gallon for 1.3 billion gallons of fuel that they purchased in 2013. As of today, the Navy’s main supplier of this biofuel is AltAir Fuels, which is a refiner of environmentally sustainable feedstocks for the production of jet and diesel fuels headquartered in Paramount, California. [http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2016/01/20/launch-of-the-great-green-fleet/]

I view the implementation of biofuels as important because it will create jobs and benefit farmers in the biofuel industry as demand for such products increases. As the growth of technology in the 21st century rapidly spurs, I anticipate that the Navy will have a plethora of biomass options to choose from such as dried plants, manure, seeds, wood pellets, oils, and landfill. With the Department of Defense holding its place as the world’s largest consumer of energy, such fuels will have a significant impact on the money spent on fuels as well as the damage done to the environment. [http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/21/us-navy-launches-first-biofuel-powered-aircraft-carriers]


Theguardian.com (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/21/us-navy-launches-first-biofuel-powered-aircraft-carriers)

Theguardian.com (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/apr/20/us-navy-green)

Biofuelsdigest.com (http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2016/01/20/launch-of-the-great-green-fleet/)


One thought on “U.S. Navy Deploys First Biofuel-Powered Fleet

  1. Hopefully they can use different biofuels.
    Biofuels aren’t all environmentally friendly, such as palm oil plantations which force developing countries Indonesia and Malaysia to deforest rainforest in order to make palm oil plantations…
    Plus, beef is the type of meat with the largest carbon footprint. Cows produce a lot of methane gas which is a type of greenhouse gas; definitely not environmentally-friendly.


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