US Navy to buy biofuels for demonstration exercise

05 December 2011 18:47  [Source: ICIS news]

US Navy to use biofuels in 2012 sea trialsWASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US Department of Defense (DOD) will purchase 450,000 gallons of advanced biofuels to be used by US Navy aircraft and ships in an international naval exercise and green-fuels demonstration next year, federal officials said on Monday.

The US Navy and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that the contract for 450,000 gallons of “drop-in” biofuels for the Navy is the largest purchase of biofuels to date by the federal government.

The acquisition is miniscule in terms of overall US Navy fuel consumption, accounting for less than one-tenth of 1% of the Navy’s 1.26bn gallons of annual fuels use.

But Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said the purchase is significant because it helps “accelerate development and demonstration of a home-grown fuel source that can reduce America’s and our military’s dependence on foreign oil”.

A drop-in biofuel is one that can be blended into the US military’s existing energy systems and equipment, such as ships, aircraft, armoured tanks and other vehicles, without requiring any modifications to supply chains or engines.

The biofuel being purchased under the new contract will be made from a blend of non-food wastes, such as used cooking oils, and algae.

The wastes feedstock will be provided by Louisiana-based Dynamic fuels, a joint venture of Tysons Foods and Syntroleum Corporation, and the algae product will be furnished by Solazyme.

The contract is not part of the broader $1bn (€750m) federal programme announced in August this year to spur private sector commercial production of cellulosic biofuels to support US military operations.

That project has generated more than 100 research and development (R&D) bids from private companies so far, according to a member of Congress.

Mabus said that while the contract announced on Monday is not part of that broader R&D effort, it nonetheless supports the long-term goal of commercial production of non-food biofuels for the military.

The 450,000 gallons of biofuels will be blended with aviation gasoline and marine diesel fuel for use by the Navy’s “Green Strike Group” in exercises with other navies in the Pacific Ocean in mid-2012.  The group, composed of an aircraft carrier and several other warships, is to demonstrate sea-going operations using up to 50% blends of biofuels.

The dollar value of the Defense Department contract was not specified, an DOD officials did not immediately respond to questions.

($1 = €0.75)


By: Joe Kamalick
+1 713 525 2653



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