By October 22, 2015 Read More →

US Navy tests biodiesel on ships, planes and ‘smartgrid’ technology

US Navy, California businesses and government partner in clean energy

US Navy

The USS Makin Island is a US Navy ship equipped with gas turbines and an electric drive system, similar in functionality to that of a hybrid car. With the upgrade, it is possible to transit longer distances using less fuel. Twitter photo courtesy US Navy.

California clean tech companies, the state government and the United States Navy joined forces on Thursday to highlight innovative clean tech partnerships at US Navy installations across the state.

More than a dozen California companies showcased current projects with the Navy that utilize biofuels, solar power, energy efficiency and waste-to-energy advancements to meet Navy energy goals.

These leaders also laid out a vision for the future of these partnerships in California.

“Where California has led the way in infrastructure, entertainment, and the computer, it stands to do so again with a sustainable energy industry,” said California Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). “A partnership with the Navy offers robust roots for success.”

Last week, the Navy committed to cut its overall power consumption in half and to utilize half of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

“The Navy is once again prepared to lead the nation and the world in transforming how we power the Fleet,” said Rear Admiral Dixon R. Smith, commander, Navy Region Southwest. “It was the Navy that went from wind to coal in the 1800s and transformed again to oil in the early 1900s. And in the 1950s, the Navy pioneered nuclear power. Today, we are committed to reduce energy consumption – cutting our consumption in half by 2020 – utilizing alternative energy sources, and working with California companies to develop renewable energy sources.”

During its 2012 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise off the coast of Hawaii, the world’s largest international maritime exercise,the Navy tested biofuels in.

This biofuels test, which is the first phase of the Navy’s deployment of a demonstration “Great Green Fleet,” evaluates the performance of “drop-in replacement” using advanced biofuel blends and other energy efficient technologies in an operational setting.

The ships and aircraft will be powered by biofuel blends which are 50-50 mixtures of biofuel, which are made from used cooking oil and algae, and petroleum-based marine diesel or aviation fuel.

The Navy says developing biofuels has become a strategic necessity given the volatility of the global oil markets.  According to the US Department of Defense (DoD), every $10 increase in the price of a barrel of oil equals an additional $1.3 billion to DoD’s annual energy bill.  As a result, the DoD and the Navy have made energy innovation a top strategic imperative.  This effort emphasizes reducing battlefield fuel demand and securing reliable, renewable energy supplies for combat and installation operations.

“California’s remarkable leadership in clean technology, renewable energy production, and energy efficiency is well-known around the globe.  In all of these areas, the Energy Commission is proud to be working with the US Navy as public research funding leverages private investment in greening the fleet,” said California Energy Commission Chair Dr. Robert B. Weisenmiller.  “Our partnership with the US Navy and innovative California companies represents how the State’s energy policies are being adapted to develop alternative fuels, foster clean energy resources, and improve energy reliability.”

Navy installations in California are also partnering with State government to advance “smartgrid” technology that allow for more nimble, intelligent use of energy. Since naval forces require support from shore installations, the Navy is reducing vulnerabilities to black-outs, disasters and man-made events by lowering consumption, integrating renewable energy and increasing control of energy supply and distribution.

“California is once again leading the nation by closely coordinating its energy policies with our partners at the Department of Defense to increase demand for investment in cleaner, alternative energy, which is good for California’s economy and good for the security of the United States,” said State Senator Fran Pavley, (D-Agoura Hills).



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