Blue Angels to fly on biofuels
A Navy logo on a Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet indicates the service's commitment to biofuels.
September 3rd, 2011
08:00 AM ET

Blue Angels to fly on biofuels

When the six F/A-18 Hornets in the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration team thrill the crowds at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River Air Expo in Maryland this weekend, they'll be soaring on biofuel.

Each of the six Hornets will be powered by a 50/50-blend of jet fuel and camelina-based biofuel, according to a Navy press release.

Camelina is a high-oil flowering plant grown in rotation on land used for wheat and on land too marginal for food production, according to Sustainable Oils, the company providing it to the military. Sustainable Oils says camelina can also reduce carbon emissions by 80% over jet fuel.

The camelina mix has been successfully tested in several military aircraft, including the Air Force's A-10 Thunderbolt, F-15 Eagle, F-22 Raptor and C-17 Globemaster, as well as the Navy F/A-18. Two Air Force F-16s from the Thunderbirds demonstration team flew with the mix during a performance in May, the service and Sustainable Fuels said.

"This will be the first time an entire unit has flown on a biofuel mix," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in the Navy release. "Changing the kinds of fuels we use and the way we use them is critical to assuring the Navy and Marine Corps remain the most formidable expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known."

By 2016, the Navy plans to deploy the Great Green Fleet, an aircraft carrier strike group powered entirely by non-fossil fuels, Mabus has said.

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Filed under: Agriculture • Aviation • Environment • Military • U.S. Navy
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    What a great idea to have the Blue Angels fly on a camelina mix! It's like PR by sky writing.
    If Obama could push biofuels through, we could thumb our noses at the greedy oil-rich countries, but that won't happen because of greedy oil-rich American campaign controllers and contributors.
    It's OK: I still support Darwin...and Obama.

    September 3, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Standard Oil Model

      Now, if they made it run on Dark Energy I'd be impressed.

      September 3, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • HenkV

      Yeah, snub our noses to the poor around the world who can no longer afford to buy food because we have this 'pretend' oil dependency solution that makes fuel out of food. But of course, this is a 'renewable' resource, until the aquifers that are drained to grow all this are completely drained. Yes, these aquifers contain a 'renewable' resource called 'water'. Renewing these aquifers will take 10,000 years, but of course we won't take about that as part of the 'pretend' oil dependency solution.

      September 3, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Dale

      The oil companies will quietly put an end to this anyway.

      September 3, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • botanylady

      BARACK OBAMA, speech, Aug. 2, 2008

      Just a reminder – Obama said in 2008 – As President, I'll invest in renewable energies like wind power, solar power, and the next generation of homegrown biofuels. That's how America is going to free itself from our dependence on foreign oil – not through short-term gimmicks, but through a real, long-term commitment to transform our energy sector.
      He has done a lot towards that goal already, especially when he had a democratic house in his first year. He still has that goal and if you go to White House.gov you can read about his continued commitment. If there is any obstruction to this goal, guess where it's coming from?

      September 3, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. SteveO

    Ya those greedy oil countries that supply 80% of our oil.
    like C A N A D A

    September 3, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  3. Marine Engineer

    The military exists solely to kill people and break things. Period. It is not another PR arm of the government. If this was being presented as addressing a specific need to support the mission of the military so be it. That this is being done to support an ideology is disgusting.

    September 3, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Marti

      Do you know any history? Who fought the wars so that you can write your garbage on websites? Thank God we have a strong military to protect even morons like you.

      September 3, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      There is absolutely NOTHING PR about this decision other than as a secondary affect. Dirty energy imposes upon the US Military a huge cost in lives, materials, and money. While the Army can purchase dirty diesel for a fraction of what civilians purchase it for, by the time it is transported into Afghanistan it costs over $400/gallon. That cost does not even include the lives and equipment that are lost to attacks on convoys. That's just the cost of transport and protection.

      These are all research and experimentation programs for the military to find ways of reducing the amount of dirty energy it uses. The fuel being used by the Blue Angels may not end up being the long-term solution, but it does need experimenting with in order to learn. These experiments being done by the Blue Angels generate knowledge that can be used by Air Force aircraft and Army helicopters as well.

      Consider the potential for algae-based fuel production for the Navy. Instead of having fleet refueling tankers running back and forth between port and a fleet to keep the fleet fueled, the Navy might have at-sea refinery ships attached to task forces. The Navy might be able to feed the algae from nutrients taken directly from the sea water, and have the algae produce fuel for the fleet. Even nuclear aircraft carriers require fuel for the jets and other aircraft.

      September 3, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Chaos

      Who fought the wars so that you can write your garbage on websites?

      For us, as opposed to other people? Revolutionary war soldiers.

      September 3, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    If the USA did not have a national defense program, we would not be here.

    September 3, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      If the US restricted its use of the military to defense instead of expanding corporate interests, our military would cost a fraction of what it costs the US today. The US does not need a military that is six times larger than our closest rival.

      September 3, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. CoffeeClue

    So, we won't emit CO2 over our enemy's land, but we will still kill them.

    September 3, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Denny

      I have no problem with that.

      September 3, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. CoffeeClue

    And, since biofuel producers are subsidized at the rate of $1/gallon by our government, it will cost us more money.

    September 3, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. RUFFNUTT (elf slayer & 15th lvl warrior & leader of the "golden knights of prosperity " )

    yeahhhhh!! more money down the toilet... now thats the american way...

    September 3, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  8. PATRICK

    USA NEEDS TO GO A EXTRA MILE IN ALTERNATIVE SOURCE OF ENERGY SINCE CRUDE OIL IS EXHAUSTABLE.KEEP THE RESEARCH SPIRIT ON

    September 3, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • DaveNYUSA

      Dear Patrick: Shut the phuque up.

      September 3, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. DetroitFrank

    Great, more grain out of the food chain for people and animals, driving the cost of food up. As long as they are producing more CO2, to further warm our planet, we can grow more food, plant-life will prosper, we can live further north and south on our planet, keep producing CO2. Always enjoy a good air-show of American Air Power.

    September 3, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      It's often useful to actually read the article before commenting.

      September 3, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      The DoD specifically went looking for a fuel that did not compete with food, because unlike Congress and ethanol subsidies, the military isn't stupid for a living. If you had read the article, I could say differently about you.

      September 3, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. George

    Why do our tax dollars fund a demonstration team of fighter jets? Sell those jets at a nice profit. END THE WARS. PANCAKES (My 4 year old wanted me to write that.)

    September 3, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Denny

      Sell those jets at a nice profit? Time to hitch a ride on the clue train!

      September 3, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  11. Princesse de Lamballe

    I find it ironic that people are kvetching about our government trying to find a different means to propel our Blue Angels.
    If they found a way to fly them using water, people would b!tch....

    September 3, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • AGuest9

      Hippie see, hippee do...

      September 3, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Deamer96

    Growing our own oil and fuel is a must in todays world...I hope the military is looking into Algae, and cellulose from switch grass, and wood pulp too. The U.S. must get off imported oil and fuel as a matter of our own National Security.

    September 3, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. Bkaps

    Um why does everyone always forget that to harvest such "biofuels" you use various machines that run on oil! Sometimes the harvesting actually uses more fuel than it replaces. That's why "biofuels" are never energy secure. They still produce Co2 and use oil, but just do it in a way which makes us forget about their usage.

    September 3, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  14. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    How naïve do you have to be to believe in the possibility of a world without any wars?
    My California friend's son came in one day and told her, "Mom, I've become a Christian, and I just been walking around full of love in my heart for everybody!"
    She said, "yeah? How long was it before somebody hit you in the face?"
    It is simply not rational to expect human beings, who all suffer from human nature, not to get into some fights with each other. Nations are made up of humans: that's a lot of human nature to cause fights.
    Fighting is part of the survival instinct. Without this instinct, there would be no humans living today.
    Oh, wow–wait till Philip starts in on me for this statement.
    Imagine how many facts Philip can furnish about wars, humans, peace, Albert Schweitzer, Reverence for Life, the ants, bedbugs, and such...
    Hi, Philip.

    September 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. createinvent

    let me get see if i understand this...20% of the planet is hungry...so we are going to grow more food and then use it for oil's to put in machines designed to to be the highest performance fighter aircraft in case we need to destroy something?

    let them use jet fuel and stop being politically correct and causing global food prices to rise each time some alternative energy competes with oil.

    September 3, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
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