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On September 16, 2016, the U.S. Navy announced the successful flight test of the EA-18G "Green Growler" plane on 100 percent advanced biofuel. Lt. Cmdr. Bradley Fairfax, project officer and test pilot, stated that "The information presented to us in the airplane is pretty simplified but, as far as I could tell, the aircraft flew completely the same as [petroleum-based] JP-5 for the whole flight." This program supports the Secretary of the Navy's (SECNAV) goal to increase the use of alternative fuels by 2020. The Green Growler flew on catalytic hydrothermal conversion-to-jet (CHCJ) fuel, produced by Applied Research Associates (ARA) and Chevron Lummus Global. "We are excited to work with the U.S. Navy as it takes this important step toward the use of 100-percent drop-in renewable jet and diesel fuels in its aircraft and ships," said Chuck Red, Vice President of fuels development for ARA. "Our renewable fuels continue to prove their viability as 100-percent replacements for petroleum in diesel and jet fuel applications."


 

On January 20, 2016, U.S. Navy (Navy) Secretary Ray Mabus and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack launched a Carrier Strike Group (CSG) of ships running up to 50 percent biofuels as part of the "Great Green Fleet" (GGF) initiative. For now, the majority of the ships will run on a mix of 90 percent petroleum and 10 percent biofuels, partially due to the low price of oil as well as a law prohibiting the mass purchase of biofuels that are not cost competitive with petroleum. The GGF is a year-long Navy initiative that was created to reduce reliance on foreign fossil fuels and to improve efficiency so ships can stay out longer before needing to refuel. The CSG deploys alternative fuels, while the USS Makin Island has a hybrid-elective drive that allows the ship to stay out three times longer before refueling than petroleum alone, for a 50 percent reduction of its normal fuel budget.


 

On April 9, 2015, the Pentagon released the Rocky Mountain/West Coast/Offshore Bulk Fuels Annual Buy (RMW) solicitation for biofuels on the FedBizOpps website. This purchase program supports the goal set by the Secretary of the Navy to have half of the Department of the Navy's energy come from alternative sources by 2020. Funding to defray additional biofuel costs for the RMW program is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Commodity Credit Corporation. Vendors can submit bids with at least 10 percent of alternative fuel up to the maximum allowed by JP-5 and F-76 specifications. The solicitation is for fuel deliveries from October 1, 2015, to September 30, 2016, and proposals must be submitted by May 8, 2015, at 3:00 p.m. (EDT).

Tags: Navy, biofuels

 

Last week, Purdue University (Purdue) President Mitch Daniels, and U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), agreeing to work together on the development of alternative energy sources, including biofuels, for use by the U.S. Navy. As part of the agreement, Purdue has committed to establishing the Purdue Military Research Initiative. This initiative will cover the cost of graduate education for up to ten active duty members of the military pursuing studies in alternative energy, alternative fuels or energy efficient technologies.


This announcement furthers efforts made by the U.S. Navy in recent years to expand its use of alternative energy sources. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) entered into and has worked to implement an MOU with the DOE and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide a collective $510 million toward the commercial development and availability of drop-in biofuels for military and commercial use. In addition, the U.S. Navy has developed goals to deploy a "Great Green Fleet" strike group of ships and aircraft running on alternative fuel blends by 2016 and to meet 50 percent of its energy consumption through the use of alternative sources by 2020.