Navy delivers nearly a million gallons of 50/50 biofuel blend to USS Nimitz strike group

By Erin Voegele | July 18, 2012

Despite a push from some federal lawmakers to prevent military support, development and purchase of advanced biofuels, the Navy has forged ahead with operational testing activities.

On July 18, the American Forces Press Service reported that Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser, which is providing logistical support for U.S. Pacific Fleet’s biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise off Hawaii, delivered 900,000 gallons of a 50-50 blend of advanced biofuels to the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Nimitz strike group.

The fuel delivery is part of the Navy’s Great Green Fleet demonstration, which the Military Sealift Command says allows the Navy to test, evaluate and demonstrate the cross-platform utility and functionality of advanced biofuels in an operational setting.

I think Advanced Biofuels Association president was absolutely correct when he called the testing a “significant achievement for America’s domestic biofuels industry.” McAdams was aboard the USS Nimitz, where he witnessed the testing activities.

“This is a proud moment for our nation as we’re seeing the results of American ingenuity and innovation in this home grown advanced biofuel that is successfully powering the world,” he said.

I’ve been following the military’s biofuel initiatives for several years, and am excited to see this new benchmark in testing achieved. Although some members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate have taken recent action to undermine the military’s efforts reduce dependence on foreign oil through the use of biofuels, the Navy has persevered.

I think it speaks highly of our military and its leadership that the U.S. DOD has made such a huge commitment to biofuels and other forms of renewable energy. In recent years, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has been an outspoken supporter of the advanced biofuels industry, and has done an excellent job of articulating why reducing military dependence on petroleum makes sense not only in terms of energy security, but also in terms of long-term potential for reducing the impact of petroleum price spikes on the military budget.

I commend the Navy for its biofuels testing activities, and am grateful for the support they have lent to our industry. Secretary Mabus, we thank you. 



1 Responses

  1. Cliff Claven



    How is borrowing money from China to finance deficit spending on biofuels that cost more than 10 times the price of fossil fuels ($26.75 versus $2.25 per gal) improving our National security? The federal government has so far spent $34.7 billion in stimulus funds on alternative energy and created less than 4,000 permanent jobs. Almost all the green energy companies fold up as soon as the subsidies end. Why? Because they are all upside down on energy return on investment. Biofuels require more energy input than they yield in output, and that makes them economic and thermodynamic black holes. And they are not getting cheaper. As a data point, the U.S. Navy paid $4,454.55 a gallon ($187,000 a barrel) in February to Albemarle Corp. to convert biobutanol into jet fuel, and this doesn't include the cost of making the Cobalt biobutanol. This eclipses the Navy's previous record of paying Solazyme $427.53 a gallon ($18,000 a barrel) for algae diesel oil in 2009. Rigorous lifecycle studies now report that biofuels are more damaging to the environment and cause more greenhouse gasses to be released than the direct use of fossil fuels because of all the CO2 released from burning down forests for crop land and all the nitrous oxide (a GHG 298 times worse than CO2) released from fertilizer. There is no reason to continue down this path except for vanity and politics. The Navy has chosen to ignore two RAND studies and a report by the National Academy of Sciences, and instead swallow whole the promises of entrepreneurs with slick brochures. This government, with a $16 trillion debt and net present value south of negative $100 trillion is using the Navy to spearhead this epic failure.


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