At the current RIMPAC, the world’s largest international naval exercise, the US are testing the use of biofuel as part of their plan to ‘green the fleet’ by 2016. The USNS Henry J. Kaiser is carrying 900,000 gallons of biofuel/petroleum mix; 700,000 in the form of hydro-treated renewable diesel fuel, and 200,000 gallons of hydro-treated renewable aviation fuel.
The biofuel has been developed from waste cooking oil and algae oil, and cost a staggering $26 a gallon. Republicans in Washington are not happy.
The Navy released a statement declaring that “investments in biofuel will produce a competitively priced — and domestically produced — alternative to conventional fuel. Such investments help the Navy and the nation become less dependent on foreign oil and thus less subject to volatility in oil prices that directly affect our readiness.” This current trial at RIMPAC will be used to “test, evaluate and demonstrate the cross-platform utility and functionality of advanced biofuels in an operational setting.”
Senator John McCain said that he doesn’t “believe it's the job of the Navy to be involved in building ... new technologies,” because he doesn’t think that “we can afford it.”
Ray Mabus, the Navy Secretary, disagrees, suggesting that the Navy has the purchasing power to increase biofuel production, increasing the research and development which will then lead to lower prices.
The Obama administration has also ignored Republican critics by announcing that the Navy, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Energy have invested $62 million in new biofuel projects.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com