U.S., Chile navies agree to continue partnership on biofuels

By U.S. Navy | August 27, 2014

Joint Statement by the Ministry of National Defense of Chile and the United States Department of the Navy on the Research, Development and Use of Alternative Fuels

Reaffirming the longstanding commitment by both countries to work in close partnership to support military capabilities that enable the two nations to effectively conduct combined military operations in support of shared security interests, Chilean Undersecretary of Defense Marcos Robledo and United States Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus agreed Aug. 22 to continue, through their respective navies, discussions on research, development and use of advanced drop-in alternative fuels to power surface ships and aircraft.

The United States and Chilean navies recognize the significant benefits of the use of drop-in alternative fuels such as biofuels, to increase energy security brought about by a reduced dependence on imported fuel and an increased certainty of energy supply and cost.

Chile's energy agenda, which calls for 45-percent of newly-installed capacity for 2014-2025 to come from non-conventional, renewable energy sources, is consistent with the United States Department of the Navy's expressed goal of obtaining 50-percent of total organizational consumption through alternative energy sources by 2020.

The United States Department of the Navy, recognizing that energy security is directly tied to military capability, is moving toward the sustained use of a 50/50 blended biofuel/petroleum product and encourages its military partners to work toward certification of their aviation and maritime assets to use this blended product to ensure interoperability between respective navies is maintained.

This focus on interoperability and the benefit of continued bilateral research into alternative energy sources has been a part of the relationship between the Chilean navy and the United States Navy since 2010. At the 2010 EXPONAVAL, an event organized by the Chilean Navy, both nations advanced the discussion on alternative and renewable energy technologies. Following this discussion, the Chilean navy joined the research into the use of biofuels being carried out by the United States Navy.

The Chilean navy, through its Programs, Research and Development Directorate, has maintained an active involvement in this project, principally in determining the possibilities and implications of incorporating this type of fuel for engines and turbines in Chilean naval vessels. A series of workshops have been conducted from 2011 through today on specific projects dealing directly with the use of biofuels as a means of propelling navy vessels.

The two navies will continue to discuss the strategic direction for alternative fuels and carry on working toward ensuring that energy efficiency is a key aspect considered during future capability development and acquisition. They will also explore the possibility of collaborating on alternative fuels research projects and alternative energy demonstration activities.