WASHINGTON, Nov. 2, 2010 — The Navy’s recent test of a riverine command boat is one step the service is taking to create a greener footprint.
“It’s not just about natural security, because that’s what most people think of when they think of going green,” Navy Rear Adm. Philip H. Cullom, director of energy and environmental readiness for the chief of naval operations, said during an Oct. 27 “DODLive” bloggers roundtable. “Our energy program also strengthens national security.”
“Our goal as a navy is to be an early adopter of new technologies that enhance national security in an environmentally sustainable way,” he said. By having reliable and abundant alternate sources of energy, he added, the Navy isn’t confined by any one source, such as petroleum.
Cullom said the secretary of the Navy set out five aggressive energy goals, which include having 50 percent of total Navy Department energy consumption come from alternate sources by 2020, along with at least 50 percent of shore-based energy coming from alternate sources. The plan also includes reducing petroleum use in the nontactical commercial fleet by 50 percent and evaluating energy factors.
Cullom said one of the ways the Navy can accomplish these goals is by creating a “green” footprint.
The recent testing of the experimental RCB‑X riverine command boat using a 50–50 blend of an algae-based biofuel and petroleum was a step in making this new footprint, he said.
“By running that RCB‑X at its maximum power and throughout that test, that was a Wright Brothers moment for the Navy,” he said. “That’s one of many tests that we’ll be doing over the next year to test and certify all of our ships and all of our type-model series that fly off of aircraft carriers so that we will be able to meet the requirements for this 2012 ‘great green fleet.’ ”
Cullom added that by going green, the Navy is more combat-capable. By using more alternative fuels, he explained, the warfighters are not obligated to use one source of energy or one source of fuel.
“The less power we have to pull off the grid makes us more resilient, because we can then be able to substitute some portions of that with alternatives and be able to conduct and continue our critical infrastructure that’s necessary to do our mission,” he added.
Cullom also said the path to become greener using biofuel isn’t just a Navy effort. Navy officials also are working with the Coast Guard and the Air Force on a cross-functional biofuels team.
As an early adopter of green fuels, Cullom said, he hopes the Navy and its partners can help spur demand in the market.
“There are challenges associated with market acceptance,” he said. “But the Navy, through its part of test and certification and leading from the front as an early adopter, we believe sends that definite and very definitive market demand signal to everyone.”
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