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Navy Demonstration Highlights Bio-Fuels Capability

By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class William Jamieson
Navy Public Affairs Support Element East

NORFOLK NAVAL STATION, Va., Oct. 25, 2010 – The U.S. Navy last week conducted a demonstration here featuring an experimental riverine command boat which uses an alternative fuel blend of 50 percent algae-based and 50 percent NATO F-76 fuel oil.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Sailors assigned to Riverine Group 1 conduct maneuvers today aboard an experimental riverine command boat as part of an alternative fuels demonstration held at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., Oct. 22, 2010. The boat is powered by an alternative fuel blend of 50 percent algae-based and 50 percent NATO F-76 fuels to support the Secretary of the Navy's efforts to reduce total energy consumption on naval vessels. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Josue L. Escobosa

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The demonstration is part of an initiative to support Navy Secretary Ray Mabus' efforts to reduce the fleet's reliance on fossil fuels and is part of a series of progressively complex tests and evaluations scheduled through 2012. 

Rear Adm. Philip Cullom, Chief of Naval Operations' director of energy and environmental readiness, which leads the Navy's Task Force Energy, said the demonstration was a historic step on the road toward energy independence for the Navy.

"What you've seen today is a mean, green riverine machine," Cullom said. "This demonstration is a great example of the fleet answering the Secretary of the Navy’s call. He told us a year ago that by 2020 half of our platforms at sea would be operating on an alternative fuel other than petroleum. We made an important step toward that goal today."

The initiative toward a Navy running on alternative fuels is multi-purpose, the admiral said. 

"Our primary mission for Navy energy reform is to increase warfighting capability, both strategically and tactically," Cullom said. "From a strategic perspective, we are reducing reliance on fossil fuels from unstable locations. Tactically, efficient use of energy resources extends our combat range and use of non-petroleum fuels assures multiple supplies are available."

Sailors assigned to Riverine Group 1 here conducted the demonstration, performing maneuvers meant to simulate actions taken during offensive operations.


Rear Adm. Michael P. Tillotson, commander of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, said the most impressive aspect of the demonstration was that there was no functional impact on how the boat performed.


"The coxswain of the boat told me he couldn't tell a difference between the bio-fuel mix and the normal fuel," Tillotson said. "I think that is a testament to how practical and beneficial this fuel can be for our people, our Navy and our country."

Cullom said the bio-fuels program will benefit servicemembers by increasing efficiency and extending the ranges they can travel without refueling.

"This program is going to benefit our people," he said. "If this extends the range of a pilot, say, one more pass around a carrier, it could mean the difference in allowing that pilot to get home to his or her family safely."

The testing and demonstration of alternative fuels for ships is led by Naval Sea Systems Command's advanced fuels program office. The office, working in coordination with the Task Force Energy Maritime Working Group, supports the Secretary of the Navy's efforts to reduce total energy consumption on naval ships.

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Related Articles:
U.S. Navy: Energy, Environment, Climate Change
DOD Goes Green Special Report


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The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

10/25/2010 4:23:49 PM
Major University Admits Hard Science Problems Relating to Algae Have Been Solved Arizona State University Senior Vice President Rick Shangraw recenty said "…algae will “deliver soon” because…most of the hard science problems science problems regarding algae have been solved…Now…it’s largely an engineering problem." The National Algae Association’s Engineering Consortium has resolved the engineering problems in its development of plans and specifications for a 100-acre build-out turnkey algae production system and its financial team has developed CAPEX and OPEX financial models for the algae production industry..
- b cole, texas

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