Green Fleet Nonsense

The Carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) departed Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton, Washington for a seven-month Western Pacific deployment on Friday, which will involve the Stennis Carrier Strike Group (CSG) as the center of the Great Green Fleet.

This will be “a year-long initiative highlighting the Navy’s efforts to transform its energy use to increase operational capability,” read a statement from the service.

USS Stennis CVN 74, photo by US Navy
USS Stennis CVN 74, photo by US Navy

During Great Green Fleet exercises the ship’s escort vessels will use biofuels made from beef fat and petroleum.

Similar to prior such exercises, the biofuels will come at a high cost, that will divert funds from more important uses by the Navy.

In this age of tight military budgets, using money for a useless demonstration project is tantamount to incompetency by the Secretary of Navy, Ray Mabus.

As described by the US Navy website, “this is one of the Secretary of the Navy’s key energy goals.” The website says the purpose of the Great Green Fleet exercises is “to make sailors and marines better war fighters.”

Replacing one fuel with another is somehow going to make sailors and marines better war fighters?

If anything, it will compound the Navy’s problem of supplying ships with its needed fuels.

Task forces operating in distant foreign waters must rely on the availability of fuels locally, or from replenishment ships utilizing underway replenishment. While this is an old photo, underway replenishment procedures have changed little. Counterbalanced rigging has improved the ability to maintain course and speed with fewer instances of rigging sagging into the sea, but it is still an operation requiring great skill.

US Navy Oiler during underway replenishment. Photo by D. Dears
US Navy Oiler during underway replenishment. Photo by D. Dears

The fact is, there are no sources of biofuels in foreign areas, and there are few sources now, or in the future, of biofuels in US homeports. And, as has been repeatedly demonstrated, the availability of biofuels from any feedstock, whether it be algae, trees, garbage or grease, will be limited in supply and expensive. Nothing to Fear describes this in detail.

Here is what RAND, an independent research organization, concluded about whether DOD should spend money on alternative fuels.

The RAND report opens with the following statement:

“Over the past few years, the U.S. Department of Defense has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the development, testing, and certification of alternative fuels that can substitute for petroleum-derived fuels used by the Army, Navy and Marine Corps, and Air Force in their tactical weapon systems.”
(Emphasis added.)

The Rand report went on to say, “Within the United States, the prospects for commercial production of alternative fuels that have military applications remain highly uncertain, especially over the next decade.”

Obviously, the prospects for alternative fuel availability overseas is virtually nil.

Here is RAND’s conclusion found on page 83:

“Findings on Military Use of Alternative Fuels”

“There is no direct benefit to the Department of Defense or the services from using alternative fuels rather than petroleum-derived fuels.”

Diverting the attention of the military from being prepared to defend the United States from any foreign enemy, by having it spend time and money attempting to cut CO2 emissions, is a terrible policy, and could be tragic if the military is unable to win any war in which the United States becomes engaged.

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From Chapter 10, of Nothing to Fear: “The possibility of producing biofuels economically and in required quantities seems remote … if not absurd.”

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.
Link to Amazon:

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear
Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

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