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Fuel is still nearly five times as expensive as traditional fuel

For better or worse the U.S. military is trying to fight an "army of one" campaign to switch its massive fuel consumption base to domestic biofuels, safeguarding itself from foreign volatility.  And despite some small bills to the U.S. taxpayers the push appears to be working.

Biofuels work pretty much like any production industry -- you produce more, and price per unit drops.  Back in October 2010 the Navy purchased 20,055 gallons of algae biofuel at a whopping cost of $424/gallon.  At the time that was one of the biggest U.S. purchases of a (non-corn ethanol) biofuel to date.

Fast-forward a year and the Navy is back at it.  It's spent a reported $12M USD to get 450,000 gallons of biofuel.  The bad news?  The fuel cost works out to around $26.67 per gallon -- around 6 to 8 times as much as traditional gas.  The good news?  The cost per gallon has plunged by a jaw-dropping factor of 15.9.

Algae Biofuels
A peek at the algae biofuels production process. [Image Source: Solix Biofuels]

While the incredible cost reduction is unlikely to continue at its current pace, the purchase validates something some national security and environmental advocates have been emphasizing all along -- if you produce more, costs will drop.

The latest fuel purchase is a mixture of repurposed cooking oil ("yellow grease") from Tyson Foods, Inc. (TSN) and algae-based oils from Solazyme, Inc. (SZYM).  Tyson is current partnered with a refining company named Syntroleum Corp. (SYNM) in a joint venture called Dynamic Fuels.  The Navy's contract is with Dynamic Fuels, who has signed a subcontract with Solazyme to buy its algal oils for refining, to help fill the large order.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus lauded the purchase as helping to grow the domestic biofuels market.  The fuel will be used to help power the Navy's "green" Carrier Strike Group during exercises in the Pacific Ocean next summer.

Carrier Strike Group
The U.S. Navy's "green" Carrier Strike Group [Image Source: USN]

The Navy, which uses 80,000 barrels of oil a day (3.36M gallons/day), has made the amibitious pledge of getting 50 percent if its fuel from fossil fuel alternatives by 2020.  At current demand levels, that would work out to around 613M gallons of biofuel a year.

It's not alone in that objective.  The U.S. Air Force now has 98 percent of its aircraft ready to run on a biofuel blend (though the allowed amount of biofuel in the blend is application-dependent).

The U.S. Armed Forces accounts for about 2 percent of total U.S. fuel consumption.  Of last year's approximately 4.62 billion gallon, $15B USD fuel budget, 75 percent was used in overseas operations, while 25 percent was utilized at home.

Source: Defense News



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A Real Green Strike Force
By Reclaimer77 on 12/7/2011 10:51:54 AM , Rating: 2
Would be all those ships having nuclear reactors.

Discuss.




RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By StevoLincolnite on 12/7/2011 11:19:14 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
A Real Green Strike Force


And if a ship takes a significant hit... The survivors will certainly be looking a bit green and glowy in the dark if the containment's fail.

I'm personally against Nuclear Power and thankfully my country hasn't invested in any. (The Aussie Government seems to be against it.)
The energy it produces may be clean, but I can assure you, the extraction of Uranium from the Earth certainly is not, it's just as bad as coal in that aspect.
I would rather replace it with another energy source that doesn't need massive mining operations which in some cases removes entire mountains and destroys large areas of land.

Not to mention you still need to dispose of the waste afterwards and hope to hell it doesn't seep into any water reserves.

I am though hoping that Geothermal catches on and becomes economical and widely available, it's a cheap base-load power for the masses if you can tap into it, but that doesn't really help the little boats at sea waging war. (Long extension cords anyone? {Or Wireless Energy transmission?})


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By rudolphna on 12/7/2011 11:48:23 AM , Rating: 4
Hunh, well it's interesting that US submarines and AC carriers have been using Nuclear Reactors for decades now. I want you to think up an idea that will produce the necessary power for a large ship, without mining something. Whether it be oil, coal, or Uranium. There really isn't anything, is there?

Nuclear power these days is really as safe as anything else. Are there risks? Sure there are risks but there are risks with anything anymore. Let's be frank, Solar and Wind power CANNOT, WILL NOT, NEVER WILL BE, feasible to power an entire country. EVER. You would need MASSIVE wind and solar farms. It would be outrageously expensive. Nuclear power is cheap compared to solar and wind on a large scale. And then, it's STILL dependent on the weather.

Nuclear power is immune to those worries, and as long as they are operated properly, you shouldn't have nay concerns. My father is a Chief in the USN.What is his job? He is a Nuclear Reactor Mechanic. He's been a Reactor Mechanic for the last 18 years. He works on Submarines.

For submarines, Nuclear power is one of the best ways to go about it. Why is that?
1. Unlimited Range (Must be refueled every 15-20 years)
2. Quiet. Diesel engines are only run in emergency circumstances, and coolant pumps and turbins are actually very quiet. Quiet, so that they cannot be found.
3. Can stay deep. When a Ohio-Class SSBN goes out, it basically dives to greater than 800 feet, and slows way the hell down, and sits there for 3 months. If it was diesel-electric, it would periodically have to come to Periscope depth and snorkel to recharge the batteries. Time consuming, and noisy.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By sviola on 12/7/11, Rating: 0
RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By Fritzr on 12/7/2011 2:15:19 PM , Rating: 3
Don't worry ... usable fusion production is only 10 years out now ... of course it has been 10 years out for at least the last 30 years, but this time they really mean it...Honest!

There are designs available for personal nuclear power. The reactor is buried in the ground and powers just it's immediate neighborhood. Low cost, clean & safe. There are also breeder reactors that turn unusable nuclear waste into usable fuel.

It won't happen though due to fears about nucular powr...


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By TSS on 12/8/2011 3:08:05 AM , Rating: 2
I'm very open when it comes to nuclear power, i do belive it should be the dominant power source... But burying self contained reactors is a bit too much for me. I'd rather keep it above ground. Easyer to actually deal with when something does go wrong. Which never should anyway with strict rules and regulations, but everything eventually breaks down. There have been plenty of nuclear tests we know the enviroment can handle a little radiation. I'm much more worried if the ground water gets poisoned from a direct leak. Atleast in the ocean it can be thinned out because, well, it's the ocean.

On fusion, I saw a documentairy not too long ago where a scientist visited several test sites of different methods and spoke with the scientists in charge. Of course the question of when fusion would be actually feasable came up. Every scientist was asked to give an estimate and most estimated 2035. a few 2040 and 2030, but the general concensus comes down to somewhere around 2035.

It's important to remember each of the steps of fusion have been verified to work. But nobody has been able to keep the entire process actually running let alone gain net energy from it. A quick google on "the longest sustained fusion reaction" gives:

quote:
JET is the only operational machine to observe fusion from D-T (Deuterium-Tritium) reactions. Such fusion reactions have been maintained on JET for around five seconds. Experiments in a device called TFTR in Princeton, USA also observed fusion neutrons from their plasma but TFTR is no longer operational. The next step tokamak (ITER), which has been designed and should be built in the next ten years or so, will demonstrate much more powerful fusion reactions for 5-10 minutes and will, hopefully, provide the stepping stone to commercial fusion powerplants


ITER is the big what if. If it works, fusion works and all our problems will be solved. If it doesn't work... we are screwed. And it's still very much an If. We hope it works, according to our math it should work, but until it's actually built we won't know for sure.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By StevoLincolnite on 12/7/2011 1:35:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I want you to think up an idea that will produce the necessary power for a large ship, without mining something. Whether it be oil, coal, or Uranium. There really isn't anything, is there?


No there isn't an alternative. I clearly stated that in my post, so we agree.

quote:
Nuclear power these days is really as safe as anything else. Are there risks? Sure there are risks but there are risks with anything anymore.


Funny thing is though... When you're firing missiles at a target with a nuclear reactor... I don't care how "Safe" they make them. You are going to have one go "pop" one day. Hopefully it ain't near my beach. :P

As for Nuclear reactors on land... I never really stated them being unfit or unsafe. I just don't like the fact we are moving from one fuel to another, and the effects that mining for it has.
Uranium ain't going to last forever, you can only mine it out of the ground once.

quote:
You would need MASSIVE wind and solar farms.


For some reason... When people think of green energy, they only think of those two and nuclear. Hows about other sources of power?
Wave, Hydro, Geothermal... Geothermal is probably the one that interests me most. It's a GOOD replacement for nuclear if they get the research in so that they can be built in more places.
Once you have a Geothermal plant operational, they are generally stupidly cheap to add capacity to.

Hydro is limited by location, but hell if they can build it they should instead of a nuclear plant, it also can provide good base load power.

Basically instead of going 100% Nuclear everywhere, they should use whatever green alternative that works best in any given location.

Solar and Wind are to unpredictable, cost to much and don't provide constant power and take up massive amounts of land area.

As for why I got rated down... I don't think my post was "not worth reading". I genuinely placed valid points in my opinion, but such is life.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By Ringold on 12/7/11, Rating: 0
RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By Solandri on 12/7/2011 4:12:03 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Wave, Hydro, Geothermal... Geothermal is probably the one that interests me most. It's a GOOD replacement for nuclear if they get the research in so that they can be built in more places.

Geothermal suffers from the same problem as nuclear. People worried about a concentrated risk (of earthquakes) even though the risk compared to the energy generated is smaller than other distributed power sources. It's irrational. When given a choice between two options - one where 1 in 10 people will die, and one in which there's a 10% chance of death for 10 people, people always choose the latter even though there's no difference. For some reason our minds put an irrationally disproportionate amount of weight on the possibility of escaping the situation with no deaths. Or in the case of geothermal, no earthquakes.

So I'm totally in agreement with you that geothermal is the most promising. But since it suffers from the same psychological problem as nuclear, if nuclear ain't happening, then geothermal ain't happening.

quote:
Hydro is limited by location, but hell if they can build it they should instead of a nuclear plant, it also can provide good base load power.

Hydro in the U.S. and Canada is pretty much tapped out. Nearly all the best sites have already been dammed, and building new hydro plants is increasingly coming under scrutiny of environmental impact reviews. I don't see hydro's contribution to the power grid rising significantly in the next 100 years.

quote:
Basically instead of going 100% Nuclear everywhere, they should use whatever green alternative that works best in any given location.

Very few people argue a national 100% nuclear solution. The way I see it, nuclear is (aside from hydro and geothermal) the best of the alternatives we have at present. It should easily tide us over for 50-100 years until we can get fusion reactors working.

The "waste" built up in that time is rather insignificant compared to the fossil fuel pollutants we're spewing into the environment because of the hysteria over nuclear "waste". The total amount of nuclear "waste" the country generates in a year producing 20% of the country's electricity is about one tractor trailer's worth. To generate an equivalent amount of power would require about half a billion tons of coal. That's a bit hard to visualize, but is about 1000-2000 oil tankers full of coal. We want to dump the byproducts of that into the environment each year because we're afraid of dealing with a single tractor trailer's worth of nuclear waste?

(I put "waste" in quotes because it's actually very good fuel for a breeder reactor. The waste repository in Yucca mountain was a good idea because in the future, we would probably want to mine that "waste" to use it as fuel.)

quote:
Uranium ain't going to last forever, you can only mine it out of the ground once.

The beauty of nuclear is that a little of it goes a long, long way. The NS Savannah would have burned approximately 29 million gallons of fuel oil during its ~10 years of operation. Instead, it used 2 gallons of uranium. Yes, that's the difference in power concentration we're talking about. A million to one for the fuel. At the mining/refining level it's "only" about 50,000-100,000 to 1, but the difference is still staggering. You could replace tens of thousands of coal mines with a single uranium mine and still generate the same amount of power. It should easily last us long enough to get fusion reactors operational.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By Dorkyman on 12/7/2011 8:02:38 PM , Rating: 2
Chalk it up to the power of movies like "China Syndrome." Nukes are REMARKABLY safe when compared to any other energy source, including windmills and solar. Seriously--there are numerous studies that look at direct and indirect fatalities due to a particular energy source, and nukes are way, way, down in the noise compared to anything else.

Until the USA does a massive build-up of nukes, we are sitting ducks when the next major war comes about and shipping is blocked.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By V-Money on 12/7/2011 5:34:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
2. Quiet. Diesel engines are only run in emergency circumstances, and coolant pumps and turbines are actually very quiet. Quiet, so that they cannot be found.


Now, I am a huge proponent of nuclear power, but this is just plain wrong. New diesel subs aren't the same as the ones everyone thinks of, some of the new designs use fuel cells and can spend much more time submerged. An Italian sub came into our port (Italy to CT) fully submerged for the trip. They are much quieter than nuclear subs because they run off of the fuel cells and don't require the coolant flow that a reactor requires (and I've done sound surveys on the entire boat, including coolant pumps, its quiet, but relative to a diesel it can't compare). They also use all modern equipment (i.e. smaller in size, more solid state). Add that to the fact that we are the ONLY country in the world that uses 60hz onboard, and you will find that our greatest advantage is the quality of our crews. The best strategy to use against a diesel sub is to wear them out because they have less crew and most of their watches are port and starboard, whereas nuclear subs are usually 3 section. (We run exercises all the time with our allies).

As for the person you are replying to, he obviously hasn't put in the effort to try and understand how nuclear power works before taking his asinine stance, but hopefully after reading some of these replies he'll have an open mind, do some research, and realize nuclear power is the greenest and safest viable power source we have available today. (Once again, today's reactors aren't the same ones that everyone thinks about, why do people always ignore progress.)


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By Mjello on 12/8/2011 8:38:27 AM , Rating: 2
Well solar is actually viable. 10 % of the federal land of nevada could power the united states.

Cost is up front more expensive pr. kwh than example nuclear.

Factor in 30 year fuel/maintenance on both sides and its cheaper to run a solar.

Sun doesn't shine. Well, there is allready two solar farms in spain using salt heat retention to run nearly 24 hours a day. A full system running 24h is economically viable and technically feasible. Essentially creating a huge battery thaat can be tapped on demand.

But a country will never rely solely on solar. Its just not smart to put all your eggs in one basket. But it could probably do 80% of the work, converting some 10% of desert area to powerplants.

I think the last was a 2 billion project designed to provide peak power demand.

A couple of terms for google if you want to know more.
Nevada solar one
andasol
mohave desert solar energy


By toyotabedzrock on 12/8/2011 12:32:12 PM , Rating: 2
Renewables have already surpassed Nuclear power.
http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2011/07/renewa...

And there are projects in Europe that will use old mines inside mountains to store water, that can then be released into a turbine for power generation when it is needed.

http://cleantechnica.com/2011/06/20/germany-to-sto...


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By kattanna on 12/7/2011 12:03:27 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I would rather replace it with another energy source that doesn't need massive mining operations which in some cases removes entire mountains and destroys large areas of land


please name me one power source we use that does not fit into that description


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By StevoLincolnite on 12/7/2011 1:38:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
please name me one power source we use that does not fit into that description


That doesn't need mining for the fuel? Sure.

Hydro.
Wave.
Solar.
Wind.
Geothermal.
Tidal.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By FITCamaro on 12/7/2011 1:45:27 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah when you can produce enough power from wind energy or solar power to move a BATTLESHIP, let me and the military know. He was talking about this purpose you dumbass.

Furthermore, those things DO take massive amounts of mining. You think the iron(to make steel), concrete, silicon, etc. used in those types of power generation comes from wishing wells? Wind power alone has spiked steel and concrete costs around the world because of the massive amounts of materials needed.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By StevoLincolnite on 12/7/2011 3:02:28 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Furthermore, those things DO take massive amounts of mining.


Don't be such an idiot.

It's a 1 time cost in terms of mining the resources needed to build renewable energy power sources.

Mining for fuels is a constant cost in terms of mining, with more sources always needing to be found and mined just to supply the power stations that have already been built! And that's on top of the mining costs for things like Iron to build it to begin with.
Then if everyone wants Nuclear Power then everyone want's Uranium, then we have the same problem as we do with oil now.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By ekv on 12/7/2011 4:08:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Don't be such an idiot.
Right back atcha
quote:
It's a 1 time cost in terms of mining the resources needed to build renewable energy power sources.
Your argument here is somewhat confused. When I drill a well (and I just love doing that 8) then that well does not need to be re-drilled for every drop of oil pumped. If you are saying that I need to drill another well in order to keep up with demand, then yes, the demand/supply curve still holds true. But then, such an argument applies to every "renewable" resource you've listed as well.
quote:
And that's on top of the mining costs for things like Iron to build it to begin with.
Something that I (and others) do not deny. Indeed, it is rather welcomed, considering all those jobs on the line. It is something you would seem to want to either deny or to minimize, which makes me curious.
quote:
Then if everyone wants Nuclear Power then everyone want's Uranium, then we have the same problem as we do with oil now.
The same holds for any limited resource. Are you suggesting "green energy" as a way of life in order that we might all live peaceably? Sing Kum Ba Yah even? Since, according to your thought, green energy is not a limited resource and therefore there would be no reason for contention over it?

At this point, you could sell me a seat belt ... to keep me falling off my chair in laughter. 8|


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By FITCamaro on 12/7/2011 4:40:06 PM , Rating: 1
Ummm...wind mills wear out. Solar cells wear out(and quickly).

And we have plenty of nuclear material for traditional nuclear power plants and breeder reactors for thousands of years. Nuclear material can be reused hundreds (probably thousands) of times with reprocessing.

And oil is barely used in power generation.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By ekv on 12/7/2011 5:00:40 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
we have plenty of nuclear material for traditional nuclear power plants and breeder reactors for thousands of years.

"TerraPower has estimated that the stockpiles present at just the Paducah enrichment facility represents an energy resource equivalent to $100 trillion worth of electricity." [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traveling_wave_reacto...]

That puts "renewable" resources at a considerable disadvantage in terms of cost-efficiency. It also puts to question the term "renewable" since as stated by TerraPower "TWRs are also capable, in principle, of reusing their own fuel." So really, what is a "renewable" resource?


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By Mint on 12/8/2011 3:55:23 AM , Rating: 2
It's pretty clear to everyone here who is the idiot around here.

A turbine is expected to last 30 years. A 600kW model weighs 50 tonnes, and over its lifetime will produce about 50 GWh of electricity. Those 50 tons look great next to the 20,000 tons of coal needed to match that energy output, but how about 1 tonne of natural uranium?

What about the natural gas needed alongside wind or solar to make it usable? People aren't going to adjust their electricity usage to when it is available, so the gaps left by intermittent renewable power must be filled in by a quickly ramping power source: natural gas peaker plants.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By FITCamaro on 12/8/2011 7:43:44 AM , Rating: 2
Actually it'd be coal. And those coal plants would be fired up nearly all the time. Because you don't just shut a power plant down for a few hours when its not needed.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By FITCamaro on 12/7/2011 1:42:50 PM , Rating: 2
So your argument is that a nuclear reactor taking damage from a direct hit is more dangerous than tens of thousands of gallons of diesel fuel taking a direct hit? Diesel fuel explodes. A nuclear reactor in the Navy will likely shut down. Plus a nuclear reactor is smaller than those tens of thousands of gallons of diesel fuel reducing the likelihood of taking a hit at all.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By Fritzr on 12/7/2011 2:24:30 PM , Rating: 2
He's referring to the reactor being fragmented by battle damage and producing a localized radiation release. This of course is much more dangerous than the depleted uranium artillery rounds that we leave on every major battleground and artillery/tank range.

True the depleted uranium is a low release radioactive, but it is chemically poisonous as well. Not to mention a 'waste' of raw material that could be used by a Fast Flux Breeder to make 'new' reactor fuel.

The risk of a shattered reactor is actually much lower than is the current UBX (unexploded bomb) problem caused by military activity. People are still being killed today by WWII, Vietnam and other 'antique' explosives. However those are not dangerous...the potential risk of a capital ship taking catastrophic damage to the reactor is the real risk to health he is worried about.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By V-Money on 12/7/2011 5:43:32 PM , Rating: 3
The problem with this scenario is containment, the reactor is by far the most protected part of the ship by convention, the shielding requirements alone put enough lead, steel, etc, around it to make it very difficult for anyone to penetrate it. I agree its possible, but if someone is wearing a bullet proof vest, it makes more strategical sense to shoot him somewhere other than the chest. The only realistic scenario would be if it was done purposely, but I don't see the point of anyone going through that much effort for something that would still be relatively uneventful.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By Reclaimer77 on 12/7/2011 7:17:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
He's referring to the reactor being fragmented by battle damage and producing a localized radiation release.


I would like to see the anti-ship weapon that could possibly cause that. Reactors are in the center of the ship surrounded by tons of steel and lead. The reactor itself is withing a containment vessel which is god knows how strong and shielded. Any damage would cause the reactor to scram automatically and seawater would stop a nuclear reaction. So let's put any silliness about nuclear powered ships going up in a mushroom cloud to bed here.

The absolute worst that would happen would be for the ship to break up and the reactor sink to the bottom of the ocean. No fallout and any radiation would be dispersed harmlessly because of the massive amount of water involved relative to the contaminants. There would be ZERO ecological impact or health risk.

If you research this stuff instead of making knee jerk reactions, he would know a ship carrying 40,000 gallons of fuel is FAR more of a potential hazard than a nuclear reactor. It's not even up for debate.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By JonnyDough on 12/7/2011 10:03:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There would be ZERO ecological impact or health risk.

I hardly think it would be zero. What if it happened right off the coast? You're kind of a dolt. No offense to dolts.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By Reclaimer77 on 12/8/2011 12:34:05 AM , Rating: 2
What kind of capital ship do you know that would be "right off a coast"? By "right" we're talking 5+ nautical miles off a coast at a minimum, in deep water!

Sorry but this discussion is moot. Call people names all you want, this just isn't a real issue.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By FITCamaro on 12/8/2011 7:51:51 AM , Rating: 1
To be fair carriers come in to port at times. But any war we'd be fighting is unlikely to be on our shores. And you don't build a ship around a slight "what if". You build it to fight and do the best job possible at that.

The fact is, our nuclear powered ships are not only far more efficient than diesels, they provide great emergency relief ability because you basically have a mobile nuclear power plant. In disaster relief efforts around the globe we park our nuclear carriers off the coast and provide power to land to help with the effort.

The idea that we shouldn't build nuclear powered ships because "what if the power plant takes a direct hit" is asinine. Thousands of gallons of diesel fuel are far more dangerous and likely to explode and kill the crew. It would take something far larger than a surface to air missile from a plane to get deep into a ship to even have a chance at hitting the reactor itself. First you have to get through the outer hull. Then you have to get through whatever quarters and what not around the reactor. Then you have to actually get through all the shielding around the reactor.

The fact is that nuclear reactors run by the Navy are run better than nuclear power plants. We have a nuclear power school here in Charleston and I personally know a few guys that work there. They have no qualms at all about working with and around a nuclear reactor. If they don't have a problem with it, some liberal pussy shouldn't either.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By Warren21 on 12/9/2011 5:28:08 AM , Rating: 2
Nuclear debates aside, I think this is a little naive:

"And you don't build a ship around a slight "what if". You build it to fight and do the best job possible at that."

Ideally, in a land of magic rainbows and bunnies, this is how military equipment is designed and purchased. In reality, it boils down to dollars and government approval. Everything is a compromise, and the biggest compromise of all is usually "price effectiveness" over "combat effectiveness".

That being said, the U.S. military is one of the best-equipped militaries in the world (arguably THE best).


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By Spuke on 12/7/2011 2:26:58 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention, you'll be out in the middle of the ocean when said reactor were to take a hit and, worse case, the reactor can be filled with ocean water. That said, if someone is sinking aircraft carriers, we have MUCH bigger problems.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By Mint on 12/8/2011 2:43:16 AM , Rating: 2
As bad as coal? How dumb and brainwashed by Greenpeace do you have to be to believe that?

Here's a fact for you: We get 10,000 times more energy from a kg of uranium than a kg of coal, and the technology is there to make that 1,000,000x. That means 10,000 times less mining is needed.

If you're against nuclear, the you are pro-coal for 80% of your energy (and almost 100% in the past 50 years). It's that simple. Wind and solar can only take a limited portion of your energy unless you are blessed with gobs of hydro storage like New Zealand.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By lightfoot on 12/7/2011 11:27:57 AM , Rating: 3
The hippies would never support that. Of course the hippies would never support the military in any way, so it's kind of a moot point isn't it?

Why, exactly, is the military trying to be "green" again? Oh, so the liberals can continue demonizing the armed forces for "wasting taxpayer dollars." That's right.

If you think the F-35B is a waste of tax payer money, you should see it burning $400 per gallon biofuel.

<Eric Cartman>I hate hippies!</Eric Cartman>


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By sviola on 12/7/2011 12:01:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why, exactly, is the military trying to be "green" again? Oh, so the liberals can continue demonizing the armed forces for "wasting taxpayer dollars." That's right.


In the article it says that to diminish the dependancy on foreign fuels, which make sense, considering most of the oil around the world are in countries hostile (or somewhat hostile) to the US, like Iran, Venezuela and Russia.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By lightfoot on 12/7/2011 12:13:48 PM , Rating: 2
If you honestly think that this is a national security issue you are seriously delusional.

If a true national security event cut us off from foreign sources of fuel, we would tap our own sources in a heartbeat and ration the civilian use of fuels if necessary. We've even had the technology to create synthetic fuels from coal since World War II. This isn't a fuel issue.

This is purely political and has NOTHING to do with "energy security."


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By TSS on 12/8/2011 3:52:09 AM , Rating: 2
It's you who is delusional, and quite so. The militairy is the only place biofuels make sense.

Wars are won and lost by logistics. Alexander the great conquered so much because he kept his troops close to the sea and his supply ships. Stalingrad was lost by the germans because their armies where cut off from supplies. Hitler made the grave mistake of going for moscow first, if he had pushed south first and captured the oil fields right off the bat the war would've been entirely different. Moscow would've fallen the next year. No sense in producing that many T-34's if you cannot fuel them.

If we imagine for a second the US still had a soviet union sized enemy willing to attack you at this moment, i'd estimate your domestic oil industry can be killed off in less then 10 hours by a coordinated pearl harborish strike. How to do it is simple: Attack Refineries.

The US hasn't built new refineries in years. Most refineries that are built are concentrated in the same areas. First step is disabling all refineries, by air land and sea. Then, at the same time, attack US petrol reserves. You might only have a month's worth in current reserves, but if rationed like you say that can be extended for quite some time. However, all that oil needs space, usually in tanks stored close to eachother. Blowing them up shouldn't be hard.

Meanwhile move a navy up the gulf of mexico and shoot the oil rigs. Keep the navy in place and execute an oil embargo. Supply by land isn't nearly enough if supply by sea is cut off. While you'd need to embargo the entire coastline on both sides, considering the current infrastructure and concentration of that infrastructure a small force in the gulf will have the best effect. You'll need the rest of your navy to deal with US carriers anyway.

And, like pearl harbor, Total suprise can be achieved since america is not used to attacks on domestic soil. Terrorist attacks, sure. But an actual invasion or act of war? pearl harbor is too long ago for that. After about 10-12 hours the US should have enough supply left to run at full force for about 10-12 days, or keep the militairy running for another 2 months. However due to the element of suprise and the unreadyness of the US as a whole for such an attack, mobilizing the remaining reserves as well as insituting rations will take so long, by the time it's actually done you have about a weeks worth of fuel for the army.

If there ever is and was a national security issue it's the supply of whatever it is your armed forces run on. You're a damned fool if you think living in the 21st century has somehow magically changed that.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By lightfoot on 12/8/2011 4:55:56 PM , Rating: 2
Are you honestly saying that this biofuel is either more readily available than crude oil, or that it's manufacturing plants are less complex or located in more diverse locations than oil refineries?

Even if we increased biofuel production a thousand fold we would still have FAR more oil generation capacity than we would have biofuel capacity. Your argument is completely meaningless for the exact reasons that you stated. Wars are won due to logistics. Paying over five times the cost for fuel is logistically impossible for a sustained war effort.

All your arguements apply a hundred fold to biofuel plants, depots and infrastructure. ALL of the oil infrastructure would have to be DUPLICATED for biofuels just to get your biofuel system to EQUAL where we already are with fossil fuels.

It is far easier to tap our PROVEN oil fields and continue operating our military until other sources are secured.

Biofuels change nothing, they simply can not scale up fast enough to be of any significance at this time, and again buying fuel at inflated costs is not the same as researching how to MAKE that fuel at areasonable price.

More research is needed and the costs have to fall significantly further. Only then will biofuels become a viable option to fossil fuels - and only then because you will have the full might of the private sector assisting in the creation of the needed infrastructure.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By bah12 on 12/7/2011 12:54:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In the article it says that to diminish the dependancy on foreign fuels, which make sense, considering most of the oil around the world are in countries hostile (or somewhat hostile) to the US, like Iran, Venezuela and Russia.
Think you are misrepresenting facts here. Don't remember the source, but I heard the % of oil purchased from hostile nations was only abut 5-10% certainly not "most".

Getting off of oil is a pipe dream (pun intended), but we do have a legitimate chance of at least no longer buying it from hostile nations (read primarily OPEC). Funny thing, is that as soon as we ban it's use I'd bet good money those nations become FAR less hostile.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By bah12 on 12/7/2011 1:20:37 PM , Rating: 2
Aww found a source. http://www.eia.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publ...

So you were correct if you consider Saudi and Russia hostile, and certainly there is some concern there. Personally Venezuela, Nigeria, and Columbia are the ones I'd like to not see on the list. To some extent Brazil as well. Interestingly Iran doesn't even make the list.

Either way I think there is a good opportunity with natural gas, and bio-fuels to quit funding countries that clearly hate us.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By ekv on 12/7/2011 2:26:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Either way I think there is a good opportunity ... to quit funding countries that clearly hate us.
Especially if we put ANWR on line. And I'm not arguing against continued development of bio-fuels. Though I would argue that simply slapping a "green" label on a bio-fuel and calling it superior is incurably stupid.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By lightfoot on 12/7/2011 3:23:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Personally Venezuela, Nigeria, and Columbia are the ones I'd like to not see on the list. To some extent Brazil as well. Interestingly Iran doesn't even make the list.

It doesn't matter if it is on the list or not. Oil is traded on the global market as a commodity. If due to supply and demand we drive up the price of Canadian or Mexican oil we are also driving up the price of Iranian and Columbian oil. So long as ANYONE is willing to buy oil from these so called "hostile" nations, they will continue to sell it at a profit.

Biofuels can not even begin to move the needle so long as nations like China and India continue increasing their demand for oil.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By bah12 on 12/7/2011 3:54:00 PM , Rating: 2
Somewhat true, but losing your #1 customer is never a good thing. I'm not suggesting we drive up the cost of our other sources (as stated that would't help us), rather develop our own sources in house.

If we leverage our own natural gas and oil we can very easily move the needle. I think you underestimate our own supply if you think otherwise. All it takes is a quick look at the State's economies that have oil field reserves, to see that we have plenty of supply. It just wasn't wise to pillage our own supply at $1/gallon. However at $3+ it makes much more sense, combined that with the cheaper labor force due to declining economy and you have a ripe position for us to become much more oil independent (not completely but we can certainly choose our sources easier). Slap an import tariff on all goods form said nations. If anything supply and demand would dictate that it would drive the price of oil down not up.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By Reclaimer77 on 12/7/2011 7:21:27 PM , Rating: 2
Our #1 exporter of oil to the U.S, by a huge margin, is Canada. Last time I checked, they don't "hate" us or regard America as a hostile nation.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By bah12 on 12/9/2011 9:20:08 AM , Rating: 2
Think you missed my point because yours was the same. My point was that the majority of oil imports come from nations we consider quite friendly. We don't need to be 100% domestic oil, rather only <20% or so. This is not some far fetched reality, we could do it.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By Busboy2 on 12/7/2011 11:29:45 AM , Rating: 2
Jets, Helicopters, Small boats and any land based vehicles would not be able to use nuclear fuels. And the current ships that do not use reactors would not be converted due to the massive cost associated with that.
However future ships could be built with reactors but I don't know what the cost of running a reactor is compared burning fuel. Also there are the upfront costs of a reactor and the post use costs.
I'm sure the Navy isn't trying to waste taxpayer money even though it seems that way sometimes.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By OoklaTheMok on 12/7/2011 1:37:33 PM , Rating: 1
There is a reason why the Navy got rid of all it's nuclear powered cruisers... it's increadibly expensive from both the engineering aspect, and the maintenance aspect.

There also issues where nuclear powered ships cannot berth in some ports because of the fact they are nuclear powered.

Going nuclear powered is not as straight forward as some seem to think. You don't just slap in a nuclear reator to power a ship. Having a nuclear reactor onboard changes many of the engineering aspects of the ship. It would require a completely new platform and the DDx and the CGx is probably too far enough along to design in a couple reactor cores in place of the gas turbine engines.

Having have lived aboard a nuke cruiser in the past, there are many good aspects to having nuclear power, but there are just as many bad things as well.


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By Spuke on 12/7/2011 2:33:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There also issues where nuclear powered ships cannot berth in some ports because of the fact they are nuclear powered.
Waaahhh! That's what "liberty boats" are for.

quote:
but there are just as many bad things as well
Like what?


RE: A Real Green Strike Force
By thurston2 on 12/7/2011 4:05:03 PM , Rating: 2
Why not just include a link the the last article where you discussed the same topic.


The Corollary
By jeepga on 12/7/2011 11:51:10 AM , Rating: 2
So, the military is lowering the costs of biofuels by increasing output, so the corollary must stand that the cost of regular fuel that the rest of us need to use will go up in price.




RE: The Corollary
By lightfoot on 12/7/2011 11:59:09 AM , Rating: 2
Normally that would be true, due to economic forces. Rational people will use the resource that does the job for the lowest cost. Therefore people will begin widely using and making biofuels when they become a cost effective alternative to other fuels. Unfortunately a biofuel mandate is not rational.

With biofuels in excess of 5 times the price of fossil fuels, you could legitimately turn a profit by burning up to 5 gallons of fossil fuels to produce a single gallon of biofuel. The crazy part is that the GOVERNMENT will PAY you to do so.


RE: The Corollary
By FITCamaro on 12/7/2011 2:32:25 PM , Rating: 2
Basically some senator or group of senators has investments or family with investments in ethanol and other biofuels. Hence the mandates.


RE: The Corollary
By Ringold on 12/7/2011 3:27:46 PM , Rating: 2
Or they represent a ton of farmers, who have been living off government largesse since... well... ever.


RE: The Corollary
By FITCamaro on 12/8/2011 7:44:12 AM , Rating: 2
In our life time sure.


simple math people
By Argon18 on 12/7/2011 9:33:02 PM , Rating: 2
Of course volume production and purchasing is going to drop the price substantially. Every industry works this way, this isn't at all related to biofuel. Lets say intel builds a new chip fab at a cost of $5 Billion dollars. And in the first day, they manage to make just 5 processors. Those 5 processors cost $1 Billion each!

See where I'm going with this? The costs to develop the product and to build the manufacturing facility are fairly static, whether you're producing a quantity of 5, or a quantity of 5 million. Individual item cost of number of items divided by total production cost. So quite obviously, the more you produce, the lower the per-unit cost becomes. This isn't news.




RE: simple math people
By lightfoot on 12/7/2011 11:26:02 PM , Rating: 2
The difference that you seem to be missing is that Intel would never dream of trying to sell five processors for a billion dollars a piece. In fact they wouldn't even build the new chip fab if they didn't have a business model in place that would allow them to build a quality product at a reasonable price.

Only an eco-nazi would ever think that $25 (much less $400) was a reasonable price to pay for a single gallon of fuel. If volume is required to get the biofuel manufacturing plant to the point at which they can operate at a profit then they should run the manufacturing plant at that volume and charge a fair market price for their product. Over time they would recoup their capital investment.

The problem is that this biofuel plant can't. There is no volume sufficient to get the cost of manufacturing the fuel down to a competitive level, and federal tax dollars should not be paying for a manufacturing process that simply is not ready for prime time. This money should be focused on research to improve the process. Not paying exorbidant sums to buy a product that can not currently be produced efficiently.

Biofuels at these prices simply serve no purpose and should not be mass produced. Get the price down, and THEN mass produce it, not the other way 'round.

If there simply wasn't any other alternative then you might have a point, the problem is that we have numerous alternatives that are far cheaper and readily available today.


Saving the environment.
By drycrust3 on 12/7/2011 3:34:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
For better or worse the U.S. military is trying to fight an "army of one" campaign to switch its massive fuel consumption base to domestic biofuels, safeguarding itself from foreign volatility. And despite some small bills to the U.S. taxpayers the push appears to be working.

Since I'm not an American, I guess my opinions are irrelevant, but a casual observation is the environmental cause needs the USA military might to have global significance.




RE: Saving the environment.
By JonnyDough on 12/7/2011 9:05:26 PM , Rating: 1
The US is helping to lead the green movement, and our military is also one of the greenest, albeit the largest. Speaking as a service member, you might be surprised at how anal we've become about pollution compared to many poorer nations.

Our aircraft, diesel generators, and huge ships, undoubtedly contribute massively to green house warming - but when you have newly industrialized nations like China who care little about the environment until problems affect the masses, when you have modern day Hitlers trying to rule the world...what can you do?


Biofuel Jets...
By heerohawwah on 12/7/2011 11:07:06 PM , Rating: 2
"The U.S. Air Force now has 98 percent of its aircraft ready to run on a biofuel blend (though the allowed amount of biofuel in the blend is application-dependent)."

Biofuel Dude: So can you get your turbines to run on our revolutionary biofuel? You know its got flux-capacitors in it?

GeFanuc Engineer: Ya sure, our Genius Blocks can handle the mods...

Rolls-Royce Engineer: Hell ya, just pump on in, our engines can take the heat...

Biofuel dude: Can you put a number on that confidence?

Engineers together: umm...98% sure, we'll get our rubber stamps.




Expensive.
By titanmiller on 12/8/2011 10:12:23 AM , Rating: 2
Considering that a single ship could burn 20,000 gallons/day, this is quite ridiculous.




"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov














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