On Wednesday, the U.S. Navy began a demonstration of the “Great Green Fleet,” with three warships and 71 aircraft running on a 50-50 blend of biofuel and conventional petroleum fuel. According to a Reuters report, 90 percent of the biofuel used in the demonstration was refined from cooking oil waste, while the remaining 10 percent was synthesized from algae.
The Navy purchased 450,000 gallons of biofuel last year – the largest purchase to date – to use for the demonstration, at a cost to the Navy of about $26 a gallon (down from $424 gallon for a 20,055 gallon purchase in 2009). When mixed with conventional petroleum for the 50-50 blend, the combined cost to the Navy is approximately $15 a gallon, according to U.S. Navy officials.
The 2012 demonstration is a milestone of the Navy’s broader goal to deploy a “Great Green Fleet” in 2016, a taskforce that will be made up of nuclear-powered vessels, hybrid electric ships and aircraft run on a 50-50 blend of biofuel and petroleum-based fuel.
Photo: The Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser delivers a 50-50 blend of fuel to the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton during the "Great Green Fleet" demonstration portion of the international exercise, Rim of the Pacific 2012. Courtesy of Chief Mass Communication Specialist Sam Shavers and the U.S. Navy.