US Navy buys another 450,000 gallons biofuel for practice exercise
The US Navy has bought 450,000 gallons of biofuel – its largest purchase – in order to try and reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuel oil. It is costing the Navy about $15 per gallon, compared to $4 for ordinary jet fuel. The oil came partly from Dynamic Fuels (in Louisiana) made from used cooking oil and animal fat, and from Solarzyme which produces algal fuel. Solarzyme has already sold the Navy bout 150,000 gallons of their fuel. It will be used in 50% mixture in planes and ships, for a practice “green strike group” Naval exercise off Hawaii in 2012.
US Navy in big biofuel purchase
by Staff Writers (Bio fuel Daily)
Washington (AFP) Dec 5, 2011
The US Navy unveiled plans Monday for its biggest-ever biofuel purchase as part of an effort to reduce dependence on imported oil.
US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said the 450,000 gallons (1.7 million liters) were part of the “largest single purchase of advanced drop-in biofuel in government history.” The biofuel also “comes from non-food sources and does not increase the carbon footprint.”
The purchase aims to meet President Barack Obama’s goal “to achieve more energy security by finding ways to lessen our dependence on oil and fossil fuels,” Mabus said.
The Defense Department will purchase biofuel made from a blend of non-food waste, including algae produced by Solazyme and used cooking oil from the Louisiana-based Dynamic Fuels, LLC, a joint venture of Tyson Foods and Syntroleum Corp.
The fuel will be used in the US Navy’s demonstration of a “green strike group” in 2012 during the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, the world’s largest international maritime exercise off the coast of Hawaii.
Mabus said the entire strike group, including aircraft and ships, will use a 50 percent biofuel blend, mixed with diesel for the ships, and aviation fuel for the aircraft.
By 2016, the Navy aims to send a carrier strike group on a normal, multi-month deployment using 50 percent biofuels for both surface ships and aircraft.
The biofuel is considered a drop-in fuel, meaning no modifications to the engines are required.
US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who joined in the announcement, said the move helps improve energy security “by basically producing our own fuels in a creative and innovative way.”
Navy Takes Flak for $15 / Gallon Biofuel Purchase Totalling $12M
DECEMBER 27, 2011
BY CLAYTON B. CORNELL
Critics claim that $15 / gallon (the calculated pump price) is too much. The Navy says this will accelerate the production of homegrown fuel and contribute to Navy’s goal of 50% renewable fuel by 2020.
The 450,000 gallons of agal and animal fat oil-based fuel constitutes the largest single purchase of biofuel in US history.
While the fuel is an advanced, drop-in biofuel (it requires no engine modification), it will first be blended 50/50 with marine diesel or aviation gas and then used in a demonstration aircraft-carrier group dubbed “The Green Strike Group.”
In preparation, the Navy says it has already tested the fuel in F/A-18s and all six of the Blue Angels, along with the V-22 Osprey, the RCB-X (riverine command boat), training patrol crafts and other vessels.
Two companies will deliver the order, despite producing biofuel from two wildly different sources. Dynamic Fuels (half-owned by Tyson Foods) produces fuel from waste fat and greases, while California-based Solazyme is an algae-based biofuel company.
Before this contract, Solazyme had already delivered about 150,000 gallons of their fuel to the Navy.
The demonstration comes as a response to President Obama’s “we can’t wait” energy security goals, outlined in the March 2011 “Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future,” which prompted the Secretaries of Agriculture, Energy, and Navy to set aside up to $510M for renewable fuels over the next three years.
This money will be invested in partnerships with the private sector to produce drop-in biofuels for military and commercial use.
Critics aren’t happy, claiming that a back-of-the-napkin $15 / gallon is too much when compared to the standard aviation-fuel price of $3.97 per gallon.
It seems a bit unfair to compare the two, considering that aviation-fuel has about a 72-year head start. The simple fact that algae biofuel is being successfully tested in advanced tactical aircraft is incredible, let alone that it’s being done at any kind of scale.
Will biofuels always be more expensive than fossil fuels? Probably!
But since when did the US military care about paying a little extra? The Navy’s major point here about acquiring 50% of their fuel from renewable, home-grown sources is the strategic consideration of reliable access to fuel.
If the US loses a large percentage of primary fuel imports, it sure would be nice to have access to something else, cost be damned.
For some differing opinions on this, see the following:
- Navy’s Big Biofuel Bet: 450,000 Gallons at 4 Times the Price of Oil
- Navy Buys Fuel at $15 per Gallon: They Should Read IER’s New Report
Navy under scruitiny for buying $15/g biojet fuel
Jim Lane | December 29, 2011
In Washington, the U.S. Navy is under scrutiny for spending $12 million to purchase biojet fuel at $15 per gallon compared to the standard aviation-fuel price of $3.97 per gallon. The Navy defends the purchase by stating it will accelerate the production of domestically produced fuel and contribute to the Navy’s goal of 50% renewable fuel by 2020.
The 450,000 gallons of agal and animal fat oil-based fuel is the largest single purchase of biofuel in US history. Produced by Solazyme and Dynamic Fuels respectively, the fuel is an advanced, drop-in biofuel that requires no engine modification. However, it will first be blended 50/50 with marine diesel or aviation gas and then used in a demonstration aircraft-carrier group dubbed “The Green Strike Group.”