Navy Launches “Great Green Fleet” Featuring Biofuel Powered Ships

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Courtesy of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

On January 20, 2016, U.S. Navy (Navy) Secretary Ray Mabus and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack launched a Carrier Strike Group (CSG) of ships running up to 50 percent biofuels as part of the 'Great Green Fleet' (GGF) initiative. For now, the majority of the ships will run on a mix of 90 percent petroleum and 10 percent biofuels, partially due to the low price of oil as well as a law prohibiting the mass purchase of biofuels that are not cost competitive with petroleum. The GGF is a year-long Navy initiative that was created to reduce reliance on foreign fossil fuels and to improve efficiency so ships can stay out longer before needing to refuel. The CSG deploys alternative fuels, while the USS Makin Island has a hybrid-elective drive that allows the ship to stay out three times longer before refueling than petroleum alone, for a 50 percent reduction of its normal fuel budget.

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