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The Navy's new Riverine Command Boat (RCB-X)  (Source: NAVY.mil)
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 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.


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