Green military

A wave strikes the side of USNS Henry J. Kaiser as it conducts a replenishment at sea.

USNS Kaiser delivered 900,000 gallons 50-50 blend biofuels and petroleum-based fuels to USS Nimitz aircraft carrier for Navy’s Great Green Fleet demonstration

Sen James Inhofe (R-Okla) said that the greening of the navy is a waste of money.

Response:

We need to systematize military energy use and sources. That was the recommendation of a Department of Defense task force a decade ago. Then in 2008 another task force decried the lack of progress and said that there was a serious need to reduce energy use, increase efficiency, and include more alternative energy. That report for the Department of Defense found that ‘high fuel demand compromised operational effectiveness,’ not just high use of foreign fuel, but high use of all fuel.

On July 18, 2012, the Navy made history.  A carrier strike group with 71 aircraft conducted drills, all run on 50-50 mix of petroleum and biofuel from algae and used cooking oil. Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus and Rear Admiral Tim Barrett of the Royal Australian Navy signed a statement of cooperation on biofuels research and deployment.

The importance of reducing dependence on fossil fuels has been the subject of much military analysis. The DOD spends $1 billion a day on foreign oil. The U.S. has only 3% of known oil reserves; countries with large reserves include Russia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Venezuela. Our dependence on oil entangles us with hostile regimes, weakens our international leverage, and subjects us to high expenses  according to Vice-Admiral Dennis Mcginn.

Although biofuels cost four times as much as oil now, the technology is new and there is the potential for much lower costs with further research.