US Navy Launches First Biofuel-powered Aircraft Carriers

by Max Breitbarth

Military technology is leading to more environmentally efficient navy for the world’s mightiest superpower. A January 20th article by the Guardian describes the launch of the U.S. Navy’s “first carrier strike group powered partly by biofuel.” This group of four ships is the first step in the Navy’s four-year plan to cut fossil fuel reliance in half to power its fleet. The ships are using a blend of 90% traditional petroleum-based fuel, and 10% biofuel.

The source of the renewable fuel? Beef fat.

Like many efforts to curb carbon dependence, the Navy compromised its 50-50 goal for this particular fleet because of cost. The original price tag of 50-50 biofuel that was usable by the ships resulted in a staggering $26-per gallon price tag. Lawmakers deemed the cost prohibitive, and the current blend, at $2.05 a gallon, is much more palatable. While the ratio might be less ambitious than the original goal, it should help to alleviate the Department of Defense’s huge demand on energy that normally relies on fossil fuels to meet its needs—over 90% of the federal government’s energy consumption annually (Watson). Continue reading