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The Navy's new Riverine Command Boat (RCB-X)  (Source:
Navy hopes to cut its fossil fuel consumption in half by 2020

It seems these days that many people/organizations are trying to go green. We have companies like Dell installing solar panels in parking lotsnumerous auto manufacturers are selling/developing full-electric and gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles; and even homeowners look to reduce costs by using fluorescent lighting and eco-friendly building materials.

Not to be left out, the U.S. Navy is showing its "green" side with a new 49-foot Riverine Command Boat (RCB-X). The boat is powered by a 50/50 mix of NATO F-76 fuel and algae-based biofuel.

Although there is no talk about an increase (or penalty) in fuel efficiency by using the the fuel, it appears to be more of a policy decision with regards to stepping up the use of alternative fuels in the Navy's fleet.

"Going green is about combat capability and assuring Navy's mobility," said Rear Adm. Philip Cullom, director of the Chief of Naval Operations Energy and Environmental Readiness Division. "It is not just about natural security; it also strengthens national security. By having reliable and abundant alternate sources of energy, we will no longer be held hostage by any one source of energy, such as petroleum.”

As with all new and experimental technology, the price to use such fuel in this prototype vehicle is astronomical. And when we say astronomical, we mean it -- the Marine Corps Times reports that the Navy bought 20,055 gallons of algae-based biodiesel at a jaw-dropping cost of $424 per gallon.

According to Wired, the Navy uses 80,000 barrels of oil per day to fuel its ships and wishes to cut that number in half within a decade through the use of biofuels and nuclear power.

"First and foremost, energy conservation extends tactical range of our forces while also preserving precious resources," Cullom added. "Our goal, as a Navy, is to be an 'early adopter' of new technologies that enhance national security in an environmentally sustainable way."

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RE: Volume and production
By mcnabney on 10/28/2010 4:38:18 PM , Rating: 5
Why are you trying to insert reason into a discussion regarding government inefficiency and smelly hippies?

RE: Volume and production
By GreenEuropean on 10/28/2010 4:52:52 PM , Rating: 5
I see you point. Its like trying to make blind people see.

On another note, I guess the navy is trying it out in small scale first. See how it affects engines in the long run and test performance before their scale it up and make the price drop like a rock.

RE: Volume and production
By jhb116 on 10/28/2010 7:19:26 PM , Rating: 2
An optimist I see. In cases like this - it is usually pushed by the civilian gov't, potentially by Obama himself. This far exceeds those $500 hammers considering ships that size likely use on the order of 1000's (10's or 100's of thousands?) of gallons of fuel per day - depending on operational requirements

RE: Volume and production
By tastyratz on 10/28/2010 8:48:43 PM , Rating: 1
I am going to go out on a limb here, but I am going to guess that ships this size are not going to use 100s of thousands of gallons a day since the article states their consumption averages 80,000 gallons a day.

Does it use a lot of fuel? Yes - but not that much.

RE: Volume and production
By bobsmith1492 on 10/28/2010 9:27:02 PM , Rating: 1
That's barrels, not gallons, but yes this ship wouldn't use 100k gallons a day. It's small.

RE: Volume and production
By jhb116 on 10/28/2010 10:22:52 PM , Rating: 2
The article states the 80K barrels is for the fleet which seems to make sense - I don't think that size ship would go through that much in a day. Still 20K gallons at $424 per gallon is $8,480,000. That is quite a bit more than the $60 to $70 for 20K gallons of standard diesel. I'm wondering if the $8.5M includes the development costs which usually run really high.

RE: Volume and production
By paydirt on 11/1/2010 9:46:17 AM , Rating: 2
I hope the government bought the company that produces the algae fuel PRIOR to the fuel purchase.

RE: Volume and production
By priusone on 11/2/2010 10:08:09 AM , Rating: 2
$8 million for 20,000 gallons. Someone got one hell of a kickback.

RE: Volume and production
By Lerianis on 10/29/2010 4:24:23 AM , Rating: 2
Also remember most of these things will NOT be used 24/7/365.

RE: Volume and production
By Chernobyl68 on 10/29/2010 12:15:48 PM , Rating: 2
Ships don't use $500 hammers. Aircraft do.

RE: Volume and production
By Techmandoo on 11/1/2010 6:26:06 AM , Rating: 3
What $500 hammers?

It was an accounting artifact, and an urban myth:

RE: Volume and production
By MrBlastman on 10/29/2010 12:19:47 PM , Rating: 1
Now that gives me a great idea!

Smelly hippies. Think about it for a moment. What use do we have with them? They stink really bad, they have awful clothing, they listen to funky music and basically just get in the way of everything that is progress.

What can we do?

I'll tell you what we can do! Invent a smelly hippy launcher! That's right. Lets allow our armed servicemen to launch dirty hippies right into the ranks of our enemies armies.

In no time, they'll be innundated by wafting plumes of pot smoke and the calming (and coughing effect of their stench) will totally incapacitate them to the point where our tanks just have to roll in and... well, roll over them, saving tremendous expense in the form of ammunition and supplies. The best part is, we can run our tanks on biofuel while doing so just to make a statement!

Lets do this America, lets do this... today.

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