Navy to demonstrate Great Green Fleet this summer
A Navy F/A-18 powered by a blend of biofuel and conventional fuel is shown after a flight test in April 2010 in Maryland.
May 9th, 2012
09:52 PM ET

Navy to demonstrate Great Green Fleet this summer

The U.S. Navy for the first time will demonstrate what it calls a Great Green Fleet, a carrier strike group operating in large part on nonfossil fuels, during a larger, 22-nation exercise this summer.

The Navy’s two-day demonstration, which will happen during the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise around Hawaii from June 29 to August 3, is part of its plan to send such a strike group on a regular, months-long deployment in 2016, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said on Wednesday.

It’s also a step in the Navy’s plan to meet at least half of its energy needs - on shore and afloat - with nonfossil fuels by 2020, Mabus said.

“(This summer’s demonstration) will focus on the fact that we are well down the path of meeting these goals,” Mabus said.

The demonstration strike group will include aircraft operating on 50/50 blends of biofuel and conventional aviation fuel, and noncarrier ships operating on 50/50 blends of biofuel and diesel. Other parts of a strike group - a carrier and submarines - already are nuclear-powered.

The blends, of a kind not derived from food stocks, already have been tested on ships and aircraft, but the demonstration is meant to show that an entire strike group can operate together on these fuels, Mabus said.

Navy officials haven’t yet determined how many ships and aircraft will be involved in the demonstration, Navy Lt. Richlyn Neal said. But a carrier strike group can involve a number of vessels, including a guided missile cruiser, a destroyer and a frigate.

The Navy wants to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels in part because the market is subject to price and supply uncertainties, with much of the fuel originating in volatile or potentially volatile parts of the world, Mabus said.

For 2012, the Defense Department is spending $3 billion more for fuel than it had budgeted, because prices rose faster than expected, Mabus said. More certainty is needed so that surprise cuts won’t be made in operations, such as training, or capital expenses such as shipbuilding, he said.

“We’re subject to price shocks and supply shocks, and this is a military vulnerability that we want to eliminate to make us a better military force,” Mabus said. “... I think that both the Navy and the Marine Corps have really embraced the notion of getting off fossil fuels to the maximum extent possible, because ... it makes us better war fighters.”

The demonstration is just one piece of the 36-day Rim of the Pacific  event, which the Navy says is the world’s largest international maritime exercise.

More than 25,000 personnel from 22 nations’ militaries are expected to participate in the exercise, which will include exercises in disaster relief, combat, counterpiracy and other operations, the Navy says.

Nations sending units and/or personnel to this year’s event are: Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States.

[Update, May 15, 3:55 p.m. ET] The Navy has announced the ships that will take part in the Great Green Fleet demonstration.

The ships are:

USS Nimitz, aircraft carrier

USS Princeton, cruiser

USS Chafee, destroyer

USS Chung Hoon, destroyer

USNS Yukon, oiler

The aircraft are:

MH-60R Seahawk, helicopters

MH-60S Seahawk, helicopters

F/A-18 C/E/F, fighter jets

E-2C Hawkeye, early warning and battle management aircraft

Navy: List of all of all ships, aircraft scheduled to participate in larger RIMPAC exercise

September 2011: Blue Angels to fly on biofuels

October 2010: Navy boat uses algae-based fuel on way to ‘green fleet’

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Filed under: Energy • Military • U.S. Navy
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. drap

    I'll be impressed..when hypoxia goes green... .

    May 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. hamsta

    @banasy good thing you know my troll from me. chrissy is already mad at me because unamerican greek called me a right wing neo nazi tea bagger terrorist and i told him the truth about whats going on in greece. the left wingers are jew bashing and talking all that aryan supremacy stuff.

    May 9, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. hamsta

    now for my comment on green energy. im glad to see some technology put to use. i dont think bullying and pushing the petroleum industry around causing the prices to skyrocket in the meantime is a good idea though. i saw the epa do the same thing with freon in the early 90s. the replacement freon for r12 is just as bad for the ozone layer and less efficient at cooling. the only achievement was to make freon so expensive that it is cheaper to get your air conditioner fixed and adapted to use the new freon than it would be to recharge the unit. as i already stated the new freon is less efficient making you burn even more gas to cool your car even less. the same is true of h6e air conditioning. the difference is that i used to be able to get your car interior down to 43 degrees in a parked car on a hot summer day. now you will be lucky if you can get below 80 degrees on a hot day and thats if your car is moving.

    May 9, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • duh

      I can attest to that. I remember the older cars, 80's and earlier, really freezing you out and it seemed they would put out cold air for longer over the life of the car.

      May 10, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. hamsta

    if i hadnt experienced first hand the pros and cons of the epa phasing out one type of freon for another i might actually believe this green energy stuff. all the epa achieved with the freon conversion was making freon more expensive and less energy efficient while causing your air conditioner to not get as cold.

    May 9, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      It's just a cup and balls trick to scam us out of our hard earned money. More cost less effect

      May 10, 2012 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. dazzle ©

    Okay hamsta, we are all running out of freon, so I will bid you goodnight.

    May 10, 2012 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  6. larry5

    I've got an idea. If the military needs fuel they should hire American companies to drill on American land for American oil.

    May 10, 2012 at 6:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason B

      Which gets sold to the highest bidder anyway, which may well be overseas. Drilling more oil isn't the solution anyway. Regardless of the reserves there is a finite amount in the ground. We're better off to go to alternative fuels.

      May 10, 2012 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Al

      I'm pretty sure they are using American companies to produce the biofuels. I'm glad we aren't a one trick pony when it comes to developing and exercising capabilities. Creating new technologies and becoming less dependant on fossil fuels should be a good development. Marine Corps knows the value of that with some of its combat outposts and patrol bases not needing to constantly risk men and material for logistics/refueling missions thanks to solar power...

      May 10, 2012 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
    • lloyd roberts

      That'll run out at some point too. And then there won't be enough for consumers. Brilliant idea. Go back and listen to FOX logic

      May 10, 2012 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
    • BigHwasdemo

      Jason B-please try flying an jet on batteries. It's oil for the foreseeable future, everyone knows it except the prez and EPA.

      May 10, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
    • richp

      Our current coal to lpg plants can produce gas, diesel and Kero for $55 a barrel, finished product ready to use. The Air Force was planning a plant in Oklahoma to produce just that. So far the Environmental Prohibitions Agency has managed to block all those plants from doing just that. South Africa has been doing it for the last 3 decades. Do a google search on coal to gas and click on the official Montana government site, all there in html.

      May 10, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mary

    Oh crap, my son is stationed in Hawaii ... he could be on one of those ships! I texted him 2 nights ago and still haven't heard from him, (Mary ... running to her phone...texting Robert.... "Ahhhh, honey are you there?")
    Now if they would lower the price on Ng .... nah, not gonna happen.

    May 10, 2012 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
  8. George Jungle

    It takes the federal government funds to help the industry to get going because the oil industry from Texas to Alaska to the Gulf hold power in congress. But this isn't news. What's news is that the armed forces are smarter than our private industrial companies which pay their CEO's with hundreds of millions of shares in preferred stock worth billions. And they couldn't drop a dime on investing like capitalism requires. No they have to ask for tax breaks. And when the price of oil goes up they scream they aren't able to drill more and refineries are old. Well we're exporting refined fuel while we import politically connected Canadian tar sands crude which costs more than double to produce than what we're selling. That's America and oil.

    May 10, 2012 at 7:08 am | Report abuse |
    • BigHwasdemo

      Then lets drill more in the US, we have our own tarsands right in LA and Montana and Wyoming and Colorado and ND & SD...

      May 10, 2012 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  9. jamessavik

    The navy needs to tend to its mission and stay out of BS politics.

    ALL of this green energy stuff is crap. It's meant to line the pockets of O'Bumble's political donors at the publics expense while ignoring key alternate energy technologies that actually DO stand a chance of being carbon neutral and sustainable.

    This administration has completely ignored both geothermal technologies and Thorium based nuclear power and the country is going to pay the price for it in the long run.

    Solar and wind power are self limiting and WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO DRIVE A POWER GRID. Geothermal energy is readily available most anywhere and Thorium can replace Uranium as nuclear fuel with much less radioactive wastes, safer plants and zero potential for nuclear weapons proliferation.

    So why aren't the Feds looking at these technologies? Because It won't make any money for George Soros and his cronies.

    May 10, 2012 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
    • fiscal2020

      Actually, it has nothing to do with Obama. The US Corn industry would lobby for this no matter what President was in office. They are far, far more powerful than you give them credit for - they are the reason why HFCS is in every drink instead of cane sugar.

      Biofuels are here to stay, whether you like it or not. This article, which you obviously didn't read, was about biofuel, not solar or wind.

      May 10, 2012 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Inglourious

      Ummm... solar is already driving power grids. How do you think the water gets behind the dams in hydro-electric?

      May 10, 2012 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Spartan

      You're right. We should rely on thorium and geothermal power to power our fleet and military aircraft. When someone figures out a way to put a nuclear reactor into a jet then maybe your comment will be relevant to this article. Instead you go off on a separate issue because you are looking for an excuse to call Obama "O'bumbles" and regurgitate your fox news rhetoric. The article points out that the Navy is searching for ways to reduce its dependence on fuel that increases our vulnerability, which in a way is showing that the Navy is tending to its mission.

      May 10, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  10. TonyGa

    What a joke.

    May 10, 2012 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
    • BigHwasdemo

      I think water gets behind dams becuse of a newly discovered process called "GRAVITY"

      May 10, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  11. TonyGa

    And a waste of money....

    May 10, 2012 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  12. dreamer96

    Well I for one, think expanding our range of fuels for our military is in the interest of our National Security...China's use of oil is rapidly growing, and so is India's, the two largest populations in the world...If we can grow our fuels here, we pay Americans..keeping more of the 100 Billion each year in fuel cost and profits here in country...Cellulose, ethanol, from switch grass, wood pulp, old leafs....Switch grass grows in poor soil, no chemicals, little water...Leave the good soil for food crops,..develop Algae and hydrogen...Good Job Navy..

    May 10, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  13. Virtue_Now

    The military uses an astronomical amount of fuel each year. If we could convert the usage to even a 50/50 blend, that will save millions, even more. Think about this. Jet-A is roughly $5 per gallon. Even if the 50/50 mix brings the price down $1 per gallon, this is a huge savings for the budget planning. You could cut the military spending without actually affecting the military. Sounds like a win-win.

    May 10, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. Portland tony

    All the world 's crude is mixed together in one pot is made useable by a few refineries and sold to the highest bidder. There is no red, white, and blue oil.

    May 10, 2012 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  15. BigHwasdemo

    Oh Great, now they can make their fuel on the go by scooping up algae. Don't get downwind the gas ejected may be staggering. There goes corn on the cob.

    May 10, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Inglourious

      Gravity pulls the water from the high side of the dam (behind it) through the turbines to the low side. How do you think the water got to the high side in the first place? (Hint: solar energy)

      May 10, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
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