Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Navy Calls for More Algae Fuel

These guys are not fooling around.
And no touchy-feely "Ain't Knut the polar bear cute" stuff either.
Back in April 2007 we posted:

Alternative Energy and the U.S. Military
The post below got me thinking just how serious the fuel situation for the military was during the 1973 Arab oil embargo.
NBC led a piece on their Nov. 15, 1973 broadcast by saying " Arab oil cutoff deprives United States military of 1/2 of oil supplies. Defense Department gives military priority on oil supplies over civilian users." If you didn't click on that link, you should. Vanderbilt University's searchable nightly news database is a great resource.

The Department of Defense invoked the Defense Production Act to lay claim to any fuel they might need. The Emergency Petroleum Act of 1973 (PL 93-159, scroll down) was enacted Nov. 27, 1973. It fit the current definition of Draconian (Dracos has gotten a bum rap).
The military has had some smart people thinking about their own fuel needs and the nation's strategic energy interests for a very long time. There are smart people working on behalf of the American taxpayer. I mean very smart.

I will never forget seeing Rear Admiral Grace Hopper on 60 Minutes with her 11.8" piece of wire (that's the distance light travels in a nanosecond).

Major General Zilmer referred to in the post below on the Marine Corps use of renewable energy was described by Noah Schachtman: "He's emerging as an extremely interesting figure..."

No shiite. "The Marine Corps needs a capability to transport small mission-tailored units thru space from any point on the globe to a contingency at any other point on the globe within minutes...This includes a need for flexibility, such as the ability to loiter in Low Earth Orbit to optimise the time of insertion..." source.
See also "Marines Want Spaceplane"
Noah's site is here.
Here's the latest, via Greentech:

Solazyme to deliver 150,000 more gallons of algae fuel. 

The Navy Calls for More Algae Fuel
It works apparently.
The U.S. Navy has signed a deal to get 150,000 gallons of algae fuel from Solazyme. A year ago, Solazyme signed a deal with the Navy to deliver 20,000 gallons of HRF-76 Naval Distillate. It fulfilled that contract so this new deal can be seen as a sign that the Navy is happy with the results. The fuel meets the Navy's specifications for a drop-in renewable replacement, says Solazyme.

The Navy has a long term strategy of getting 50 percent of its fuel from renewable sources by 2020. In August, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus gave a great speech in front of the Commonwealth Club explaining why. The Federal Government consumes 2 percent of the energy in the U.S. and the Department of Defense accounts for 90 percent of that total.

But more importantly, shipping that energy often places additional burdens on the DoD. The biggest imports into Afghanistan right now are oil and gas, and the Navy has to expend resources and manpower to keep supply lines humming. 70 percent of the world's population lives within 100 miles of an ocean coastline. Rises in sea levels will have profound security implications.

The Navy, he added, has always been at the forefront of energy research. In the 1850s the Navy switched from sail to coal power. Critics in Congress complained that coal supplies were uncertain and the infrastructure would be costly. The same complaints came when it switched from coal to oil. Nuclear? A reactor would never fit on a ship or a sub....MORE