US Navy's "Green Strike Force" Contracts For More Biofuel

Official US Navy Imagery/CC BY 2.0

An update on the US Navy's plans to develop a so-called Green Strike Force, as in vehicles powered by biofuels instead of petroleum: Renewable Energy World reports that the Navy has contracted to purchase 450,000 gallons of biofuel, for use in jets and ships.

The Navy uses some 3.36 million gallons of fuel a day, so obviously this purchase is really just a drop in the bucket of overall fuel consumption.

Receiving the contract is Dynamic Fuels, who just supplied the fuel for one of the first biofuel-powered jet flights in the US, and a joint venture between Syntroleum and Tyson Foods (yes, the agribusiness-factory farming goliath).

Dynamic won't be actually supplying the fuel itself though. It's fuels are usually made from animal fat, the byproduct of factory farming and in my oft-expressed opinion a hugely awful idea from an environmental and animal welfare standpoint, or from used cooking oil, much better environmentally and a hugely popular example of creative recycling but frankly a non-starter when scale is concerned.

Instead, Dynamic Fuels has apparently subcontracted out to algae biofuel developers Solazyme—which three years ago was proudly proclaiming that millions of gallons of algae biofuel would be already in commercial production, something which has obviously not come to pass.

The Navy will be using the biofuel in a 50-50 blend with petroleum-based fuels, and is expected to run $15 a gallon when blended. The entire biofuel order is running $12 million, or $26.67 a gallon.

As for when this fuel will actually be used, the Navy says it hopes to deploy it during a demonstration exercise off the coast of Hawaii sometime in summer 2012, and hopes to be power an entire mission by biofuels by 2016. By 2020, the Navy plans on using alternatives to fossil fuels for 50% of its needs.

Tags: Biofuels | United States

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