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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 clovell on 10/29/2010 1:35:39 PM , Rating: 3
HOLD THE PHONE - Seriously. When we talk about subsidizing experimental wind farms, it's bloody inefficient murder in the streets.

But now that it's a defense contract, it's somehow okay? It's inefficient right now.

I don't care what the price is going to be - it won't be able to make up for this asinine waste of tax dollars. The only benefit touted from this is 'going green'. No mention of shorter refinery cycle, autonomous supply lines and/or refueling, or even how it increases speeds.

So riddle me this, why is everyone here at DT so quick to demonize green tech for peaceful purposes, when it's actually useful but not for military applications when it's clearly not?

RE: Volume and production
By Solandri on 10/30/2010 12:10:43 AM , Rating: 2
So riddle me this, why is everyone here at DT so quick to demonize green tech for peaceful purposes, when it's actually useful but not for military applications when it's clearly not?

You're dealing with a lot of viewpoints on DT. I know the folks with a libertarian streak will criticize both peaceful green tech and military green tech if they're both not cost-effective. Other folks (like me) are ok with some money spent on peaceful green R&D and military R&D which happens to be green. I only post rebuttals of the green stuff when some eco-nut talks as if the green stuff is economically viable right now and the only thing keeping it off the market is some government-corporate conspiracy.

Also, why do you say green tech is useful for peaceful purposes but not for military? Seems like if it's useful, it'd be useful for both. In fact, given the premium the military places on combat independence (e.g. being able to run your vehicles without having to have fuel provided by locals), it seems to me the military vehicle would be economically viable at a much higher fuel cost than a commercial vehicle, making the green tech more useful for the military than for the private sector. The opposite of what you're saying.

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