The Navy’s Green Strike Group Sails on Biofuels Blend: Will It Sail Again?
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) As the Pacific-based forces of Can-Do battle the Washington-based forces of Shouldn’t-Try, we look at the 6 Big Myths of Military Biofuels
In Hawaii, the US Navy demonstrated its Green Strike Group as part of the 2012 Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise that includes 40 surface ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel from 22 different nations.
On July 17th, military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187) delivered 700,000 gallons of hydro-treated renewable diesel fuel, or HRD76, to three ships of the strike group. Kaiser also delivered 200,000 gallons of hydro-treated renewable aviation fuel, or HRJ5, to Nimitz. The fuels were provided by Solazyme and Dynamic Fuels.
Both fuels are a 50-50 blend of traditional petroleum-based fuel and biofuel comprised of a mix of waste cooking oil and algae oil. … The fuel delivery is part of the Navy’s Great Green Fleet demonstration, which allows the Navy to test, evaluate and demonstrate the cross-platform utility and functionality of advanced biofuels in an operational setting.
A note from Vice Admiral Philip Hart Cullom, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics …we cannot, and should not, trade readiness for fuel.
…In this context we’d like to examine assertions made in a feature story on the Green Strike Group published this week in Wired’s online Danger Room, entitled “How the Navy’s Incompetence Sank the ‘Green Fleet”.
1. True or False? Is there “a little-noticed Defense Department report shows that the Navy could spend as much as an extra $1.8 billion per year if it buys all the biofuel it’s pledged to burn?”
Well, false and false. Which is to say, congressional Republicans have been attempting to give the report more visibility than the Declaration of Independence.
The report does mention a figure of $1.8 billion – absent the invocation of the Defense Production Act Title III, which would ensure that advanced biofuels are, in fact, cost-competitive with fossil fuels. The Obama Administration, working with the Navy, simply followed the recommendations of the 2011 report and invoked the DPA to ensure that switching to green fuels would not involve great expense to taxpayers.
The report is here http://energy.defense.gov/NDAA_FY10_Sec_334_Report_FINAL_85B3.pdf
2. True or false? “In 2007, Congress set a goal of producing two billion gallons of advanced biofuels within five years. But today, firms can only generate around 40 million gallons of the stuff — 98 percent less than the original plan’s total.”
False. Advanced biofuels, as defined in the Congressional goal, specifically include sugarcane ethanol and biodiesel, and more than 10 billion gallons “of the stuff” were produced around the world last year – vastly exceeding the Congressional target.
… Keep in mind, all biofuels made for military purposes today are manufactured in a two step-process – first, an intermediate is made, and then it is upgraded through processes such as UOP’s hydroprocessing technology. It’s the same with crude – you don’t pour crude oil into an aircraft or destroyer – after recovery, it is processed and upgraded at a refinery to meet a military spec. READ MORE Watch Video and MORE (Wired.com)