US Navy fleet begins operating on alternative fuel


Great Green fleet

Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, the USS Stockdale (DDG 106), has become the first US Navy ship to run on an alternative fuel blend as part of its regular operations, following the launch of the Great Green Fleet.

The US Navy and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) have inaugurated the Great Green Fleet with the deployment of the USS John C Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCS CSG) at Naval Air Station North Island.

The Great Green Fleet is an initiative undertaken by the navy to use alternative fuel in its fleet.

US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said: "The Great Green Fleet shows how we are transforming our energy use to make us better warfighters, to go farther, stay longer and deliver more firepower. In short, to enable us to provide the global presence that is our mission."

"The Great Green Fleet shows how we are transforming our energy use to make us better warfighters."

The fuel used in the Great Green Fleet initiative is derived from waste beef fat and feedstock of beef tallow procured from farmers and ranchers in the midwest. It also consists of traditional petroleum, provided by Tesoro.

California-based AltAir Fuels was given a contract by the Defense Logistics Agency to blend the ingredients into an alternative fuel. AltAir will supply 77.6 million gallons at a cost $2.05/gal, making it cheaper that traditional fuel.

The JCS CSG fleet will also include energy-efficient features, such as stern flaps, LED lights and conservation procedures.

Other ships, aircraft, amphibious and expeditionary forces, and shore installations using alternative fuels in the course of performing planned mission functions will be part of the Great Green Fleet throughout 2016, the navy said.

The alternative fuel will require no changes to ship engines, transport or delivery equipment, or operational procedures.

The initiative is expected to offer support and promote farmers, ranchers and rural manufacturing jobs.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said: "Today's deployment proves that America is on its way to a secure, clean energy future, where both defence and commercial transportation can be fueled by our own hardworking farmers and ranchers, reduce landfill waste and bring manufacturing jobs back to rural America."

The USDA partnered with the navy through the Commodity Credit Corporation to help diversify its fuel supply and simultaneously support rural economies.

In 2012, the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise demonstrated the concept of the Great Green Fleet by involving carrier strike groups' surface ships and aircraft powered by biofuel blend.


Image: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS William P Lawrence (DDG 110) is a part of the Great Green fleet. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chelsea Troy Milburn.